Learning from the Renaissance

The excerpt below is from  and HBR article entitled:

Renaissance Florence better model for Innovation than Silicon Valley

I have liberally taken from the text to demonstrate a reminder for all of us. We can experience similar upheavals and devastation in our lives. They can be temporary setbacks or something a little more catastrophic. The emphasized portion in bold struck me as something each of us can use as a lesson. It’s the old deal about “falling down and getting up.” I thought that if something as magnificent as the Renaissance sprung from a horrible catastrophe, maybe we can do the same thing when we experience Life’s setbacks, tragedies and challenges. Let me know what you think.

Renaissance Florence: The Italian city-state produced an explosion of great art and brilliant ideas, the likes of which the world has not seen before or since. This hothouse of innovation offers lessons as relevant and valuable today as they were 500 years ago. Here are a few of them.(the article lists several and this is the one I singled out)

Disaster creates opportunities. Florence reminds us that even devastating events can yield surprising benefits. The city’s Renaissance blossomed only a few decades after the Black Death decimated the city, and in part because of it. Horrible as it was, the plague shook up the rigid social order, and that new fluidity led directly to artistic and intellectual revolution. Likewise, Athens flourished after it was sacked by the Persians. A period of upheaval almost always precedes a creative awakening. Innovators must internalize this lesson. They need to constantly ask themselves, “What good can come from this? Where is the opportunity hidden amid the distress?” ….Don’t aim to restore some glorious — and likely illusory — past. Instead, leverage catastrophe to create something entirely new.




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