What Does Gay Marriage, Marijuana, and Innovation Have in Common?
Cannabis legalization is sweeping the world and with it comes some interesting new data. It turns out, that if you want your town or city to be more ‘innovative’, you should strongly consider making some serious social policy changes.
Namely, same-sex marriage and cannabis legalization.
It turns out, that in places that have liberalized social policies, specifically concerning the previously mentioned ones, innovation spikes.
This was discovered by research conducted by Harvard Business Review.
It’s a combination of Factors
They looked at a combination of factors, including economic relief for innovators, grants and other economically charged policies and found that if only those were included, innovation didn’t rise as much.
In order to not confuse causality and causation, the Harvard team implemented rigorous testing of their findings to ensure that more liberalized social policies actually do play a role in innovation.
Nonetheless, they continued to find similar results. Places that had similar economic models but not similar liberalized social policies had a difference of 5% to 6% output compared to places with more restrictive social policies.
While one would think that how on earth could more socially liberal policies actually have an impact on innovation, the truth of the matter is that it has more of an impact than you think.
Why does legalized cannabis and gay marriage increase innovation?
Innovation is making the connection between seemingly different ideas and merging them into one new concept. This cannot happen within a stale marketplace with a limited diverse population.
What the researchers found was that in places that had legal cannabis and same-sex marriage, the number of interactions between ‘other people’, or people who a particular person would usually not hang out with, increased.
This increase created an increase in exposure to new ideas, more diverse backgrounds that all leads to innovative thinking.
This type of behavior is exemplified in Silicon Valley, where both same-sex marriage and cannabis is legal. While other cities and countries have tried to duplicate the innovation hub, they never seem to reach the grandeur of Silicon Valley itself.
Even with places that replicated the exact same financial model as Silicon Valley, but did not implement legal cannabis or gay marriage had a lower rate of innovative thinking.
But why would this increase innovation?
As mentioned, one of the side effects of legalizing these social policies is an increase in interactions with people outside of your ‘typical social circles’. This allows for new ideas to flow into your own thinking patterns, creating a positive feedback loop that helps with innovative thinking.
Another thing is that cannabis allows individuals to explore ideas without prejudice and the nagging of the ego saying, “that can’t be done”.
Stoners’ think of crazy things. Of course, they know for the most part it is never achievable within the realm of existence, but the exercise in creative thinking allows them to expand their problem solving skills beyond normal parameters. This exercise without restraint often times leads to new innovations.
An apple fell on Newton’s head and he started to understand the principles of gravity.
Furthermore, we cannot ignore the fact that a vast majority of the engineers in Silicon Valley microdoses psychedelics.
The microdosing of psychedelics connect parts of the brain that don’t usually interact with each other. This is why sometimes people under the influence of psychedelics can smell colors or hear numbers. When you micro dose, you don’t feel the full effects of the psychedelics. It rather works as a passive booster to your creativity, energy levels and so forth.
Why Freedom is the best for innovation
The United States, for the longest time was the forerunner in innovation due to its liberal approach to human existence. Small government aimed at protecting the individual coupled with the freedom to pursuit your own dreams, allows people to explore new ideas and develop new paradigms.
When more regulation steps in, innovation drops. This is because bureaucracy stifles the innovation process.
Think of it this way. You were sleeping and dreamt of the next ‘big thing’. As you wake up, the idea is fresh in your mind however every passing second the idea starts slipping back into your subconscious. In order to capture the idea, you need to write it down as soon as possible.
Now let’s imagine that as you wake up with your fresh idea, you first had to fill out some paperwork, wait for another person to review and approve the paperwork prior to giving you a pen to write down the idea.
By the time you are granted the rights to use the pen, the idea has faded into oblivion.
This is exactly what happens when you place restrictions on the freedoms of people. You stifle innovation.
So if you and your city or country is looking to increase innovation, strongly consider legalizing same-sex marriage and cannabis. It’s a recipe for great ideas!