The Latest News & Events

Innovation & Expertise: What Makes A Genius?

We often define genius as a person demonstrating exceptional creativity or intelligence, either in general or in a specific field.  Albert Einstein is usually one of the first people we think of when we hear the word, along with people like Marie Curie, Mozart, and Leonardo de Vinci. 

In modern times, we look to stories like that of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, who started a multi-billion dollar tech company in his garage, to define the word.  However, what it is specifically that makes a genius has been a question of interest for centuries.  To this day, researchers are still trying to explain the reason behind creative and intellectual superiority, more specifically asking: Is it nature or nurture that’s more responsible? 

Francis Galton, a pioneer in eugenics, and the first to actually coin the term “Nature versus Nurture,” was one to explore the reason for genius in his book called Hereditary Genius.  In it, Galton explores the histories of famous families, such as the Bach’s, to demonstrate the effect of genetics on an individual’s intellectual and creative development. 

More recently, however, men like Anders Ericsson and Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers: The Story of Success, have shown that genius and expertise stems from repeated practice and experience.  Both explore the concept of the 10-year rule in their work, which states that it takes a minimum of 10 years, equal to about 10,000 hours, of practice before someone can truly master a skill. 

While some look to IQ tests as a method of determining a person’s genius, these tests can vary significantly, making it difficult to establish a baseline for “Genius.”  It has also proven difficult to determine the IQ of geniuses long passed.  Today, the nature versus nurture debate continues on, as we see successful innovators, entrepreneurs, scientists and others from all different biological inheritances and environmental upbringings. 

When it comes to what makes a genius, what do you think the biggest factor is?  Share your thoughts with us, here!