Great minds don’t think alike

Charles Darwin, despite his momentous effect on the world of biology, was not a trained biologist. His knowledge of geology was what allowed him to think deeply about how things change over time. His intellectual curiosity brought him out of his field of study and onto the deck of a ship that travelled the world in search of the new. Upon his return, it was his collaboration with zoologist John Gould that allowed him to propose his revolutionary theory of natural selection.

“One thing we know about creativity,” says Marc Tucker, Head of the Washington-based National Center on Education and the Economy, “is that it typically occurs when people who have mastered two or more quite different fields use the framework in one to think afresh in the other.” Group-think is the enemy of innovation.

Founded in 2006, the Treehouse Group is a collective of Torontonians devoted to embracing this idea of cross-disciplinary collaboration. Inspired by the prospects of living in a diverse and dynamic city, the Treehouse Group organizes conferences, monthly brunches, science-fairs and educational sessions dedicated to exploring that fuzzy and exciting region where fields of study overlap. This is where truly creative ideas foment.

Starting this Friday, March 5, at 6pm, MaRS will be hosting a series of talks on the first Friday of every month entitled Treehouse Talks, dedicated to this idea of overlap. The rules are simple: three speakers, 15 minutes each, no PowerPoint, no boundaries. Discussions and activities to follow.

This week, check out:

Dan Falk (freelance writer/broadcaster) on the enigma of time
Nadja Sayej
(ArtsStars*) on fear and loathing in the Toronto art scene
Zahra Ebrahim (Design Exchange/archiTEXT) on design and social change

For speaker bios and more information, check out or contact Joseph Wilson. For more on the philosophy of the Treehouse check out this article in the Open Source Business Resource.