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In praise of far-fetched ideas

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Safi Bahcall is the author of 'Loonshots'
Safi Bahcall is the author of "Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries."
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The story of 3M inventing the Post-It note is Minnesota lore — a scientist, attempting to formulate a super-strong adhesive, instead creates a low-tack glue that eventually leads to the iconic yellow sticky. It was an accident, born out of risk, that ultimately led to commercial success.

Do companies today have the stomach for the risk required of true innovation? Physicist and entrepreneur Safi Bahcall isn't sure. He's concerned that we live in an age when it's common to reject innovative thinking because it goes against the systems we've created in the modern work environment. His new book, "Loonshots," uses case studies to make his point: that we need to reexamine our organizational structures to encourage the kind of risky ideas needed to make big changes in society.

MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke to Bahcall about the innovative ideas he discovered while writing his book — and what he thinks we need to do to produce more of them.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.