To answer this question, Duggan draws from a wide variety of fields to illustrate how creative ideas are really just new combinations of old ideas. Take Duggan's example of Google: The founders of Google did not intentionally set out to create an internet search engine; rather, they were doing academic research at Stanford when they combined their knowledge of computer science, the citation ranking system used by academics, and a feature they saw on the Lycos search engine to create the first version of Google. Similarly, while Steve Jobs (and Apple) may have perfected the graphical user interface, he certainly did not create it. Rather, it was a fortunate visit to Xerox Parc that sparked his imagination to create a new, user friendly operating system for personal computers. In both cases, the revolutionary ideas were nothing more than new (and better) combinations of old ideas.
As I read this book, I couldn't help but think about how SlideStacks came to be. Although I spent over 6 years working in the software industry, had given hundreds of presentations to a wide variety of audiences, it wasn't until my boss suggested that rather than just delivering my slide deck start to finish, I should instead engage my audience in conversation to see which topics they wanted to discuss. I struggled with this ambiguity because traditional slideware made it difficult to bounce around the slides in a non-linear fashion. That's when it hit me. I immediately wrote the following question on a Post-It Note: what if there was a way to display slides based on the flow of an unpredictable conversation? I spent the subsequent weeks answering that question, but everything started from that single flash of insight when I unconsciously combined my experience of user interface design, delivering presentations, and my boss' suggestion of conversation-based slide delivery to create a new idea: SlideStacks. I did not intentionally set out to create an online presentation software, but when the idea struck, the path to creating the product was so vivid that I immediately jumped on the opportunity.