The ideas that occur to us and that lead to innovation and solutions to problems are like leaves that float down the stream of collective thought. A leaf may wash up on your shore, but to claim it as being your own is to forget that ideas do not exist in a vacuum, nor do they spontaneously generate. Through dialog and interaction with others our own thoughts are shaped and ultimately culminate into ideas. Peter Senge explains (Senge, 2010):
“In dialogue people become observers of their own thinking. …If collective thinking is an ongoing stream, ‘thoughts’ are like leaves floating on the surface that wash up on the banks. We gather in the leaves [and] misperceive [them] as our own, because we fail to see the stream of collective thinking from which they arise.”
- Senge, P. M. (2010). The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization (Revised & Updated edition). Crown Business.