Today's complex problems demand a radically new way of thinking — one in which art, technology, and science converge to expand our creativity and augment our insight. Creativity must be combined with the ability to execute; the leaders and innovators of the future will have to understand this balance and manage such complexities as climate change and pandemics. The place of this convergence is THE NEXUS. In this provocative and visually striking book, Julio Mario Ottino and Bruce Mau offer a guide for navigating the intersections of art, technology, and science.

THE NEXUS Book, the new Convergence fo Art, Technology, and Science

“Two great minds have combined to help the rest of us reimagine the future. Ottino and Mau have seamlessly fused word and image to produce a practical, inspiring, and often beautiful guide to navigating a boundaryless world. THE NEXUS is a spectacular book.”

Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of WHEN, DRIVE, and A WHOLE NEW MIND.

THE NEXUS: Page 1

“In a time of increasing complexity and uncertainty, we need a new way of thinking to innovate and lead into the future. Blurring the boundaries between the largest domains of human creativity — art, technology, and science — leads to a dramatic augmentation of thinking spaces and a wealth of possible ideas. Myths and stereotypes in each field, however, have stood in the way of innovation …The key to succeed in reaching THE NEXUS, the place where these modes of thinking converge and synergize, is to be open to new ideas and to seek inspiration from domains outside our own.”

THE NEXUS: Page 1

“In a time of increasing complexity and uncertainty, we need a new way of thinking to innovate and lead into the future. Blurring the boundaries between the largest domains of human creativity — art, technology, and science — leads to a dramatic augmentation of thinking spaces and a wealth of possible ideas. Myths and stereotypes in each field, however, have stood in the way of innovation …The key to succeed in reaching THE NEXUS, the place where these modes of thinking converge and synergize, is to be open to new ideas and to seek inspiration from domains outside our own.”

THE NEXUS: Page 2

“Though art, technology, and science grew apart after the Renaissance, they are now converging. Nexus thinkers who can understand this convergence and seamlessly navigate intersections will become the innovators of the future.”

THE NEXUS: Page 3

“Today, more urgently than ever, we need to augment our thinking. The world faces enormous challenges of unprecedented complexity — problems that intertwine in a dizzyingly interconnected, interdependent, and changing landscape… How can we augment our thinking spaces to increase creative solutions? How can we make those solutions real by mastering complexity? By working at THE NEXUS, where art, technology, and science converge.”

THE NEXUS: Page 4

“When we augment our thinking spaces, we expand our potential for finding creative solutions. But to make creative solutions real through carefully orchestrated execution, we must understand the fabric of complexity that governs how every component of society and the world functions today.”

Gwynne Shotwell

“Our most complex human challenges require a new way of seeing. Fusing word and image, beauty bursts from every page of THE NEXUS to inspire new imaginings. Ottino and Mau are maestros, meticulous and masterful in illuminating this Nexus of possibility.”

James Orbinski, Director, Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research; President Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) when awarded the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize.

Gwynne Shotwell

“This is a beautiful and fascinating book. It stretched my brain and caused me to think differently about both the beauty and challenges of our world.”

Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer, SpaceX.

James Orbinski

“Our most complex human challenges require a new way of seeing. Fusing word and image, beauty bursts from every page of THE NEXUS to inspire new imaginings. Ottino and Mau are maestros, meticulous and masterful in illuminating this Nexus of possibility.”

James Orbinski, Director, Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research; President Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) when awarded the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize.

Robert Langer

“THE NEXUS makes an urgent and compelling case for blurring the boundaries between art, technology, and science to move creativity to a higher plane. Original and inventive, a source of inspiration and ideas in every beautifully designed page.”

Robert Langer, Institute Professor, MIT; Recipient of the US National Medal of Science and the US National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Paola Antonelli

“By showing episodes of art, technology, and science coming together in explosions of constructive creativity, THE NEXUS suggests that there are further dimensions in which our imagination can find the power to design a better future for all.”

Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, and Director, Research and Development, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

THE NEXUS: Poster 1
THE NEXUS: Poster 2
THE NEXUS: Poster 3

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Authors

Julio Mario Ottino

Julio Mario Ottino is an academic thought leader, author, artist, and internationally recognized researcher whose work in chaos and complexity has been featured in Nature, Science, and Scientific American. A Guggenheim Fellow, he is the founding Codirector of Northwestern University's Institute on Complex Systems.Link to Julio Mario Ottino LinkedIn

Bruce Mau

Bruce Mau has worked as a designer, innovator, educator and author on a broad spectrum of projects in collaboration with the world's leading brands, organizations, universities, governments, entrepreneurs, renowned artists, and fellow optimists. He is co-founder and CEO of Massive Change Network, a design consultancy based in the Chicago area.Link to Bruce Mau LinkedIn

Robert C. Wolcott

“Great innovation can sometimes — in the hands of a Picasso, DaVinci, or Curie — seem to come out of ether like thunderbolts of ideas. Yet a secret of innovation is to understand that it is often times more of an import/export business of ideas, than raw creativity. Innovation amounts to taking things that are well-understood and taken-for-granted conventions in one field and bringing them into a new field where they are suddenly seen a innovation. This is the essence of NEXUS, an understanding that a source of innovation come from connections among the seemingly disparate worlds of science, art, and technology. This book will inspire your creative vision and ability summon thunderbolts of ideas.”

Brian Uzzi, Richard L. Thomas Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Don Norman

“In THE NEXUS, the team of Julio Ottino and Bruce Mau show the power of bringing art, technology, and science into a collaborative whole. The text is a thoughtful analysis of how each of the different disciplines combines to produce a rich and meaningful understanding of the complex world in which we live. The book itself is autological, an embodiment of the concept it preaches, a brilliant example of why the convergence of disciplines is critical and essential to tackling the complexity of the world, where the coupling of the three different modes of thinking provides insights and creative results that are greater than the sum of its parts.”

Don Norman, Design icon, author of Design of Everyday Things and Design for a Better World (2023).

Helen and Dave Edwards

“In their book, Ottino and Mau take on a big subject — how to augment your thinking by integrating art, technology, and science. It is a thought-provoking and curiosity-enhancing book — perfect for rewilding your attention with its glorious footnotes and gorgeous visuals.”

Helen and Dave Edwards, Hosts of the Artificiality podcast, Founders of Sonder Studio, and authors of Make Better Decisions.

Lloyd Shefsky

“Julio Ottino and Bruce Mau give us THE NEXUS, a must-read for those who think; those who care about how we get to and through the future; and those who enjoy learning about important new concepts and methodologies. So much of what we read rues the failures of human frailty. THE NEXUS helps assure that our grandchildren will rue less and revel more.”

Lloyd E. Shefsky, Consultant to Fast-Growth Start-ups and Large Family Enterprises.

Robert C. Wolcott

“Don’t just read NEXUS — experience it. In the tradition of groundbreaking syntheses of visual, conceptual — even poetic — works by theorists such as Marshal McLuhan and Umberto Eco, Ottino and Mau present the breadth and nuance of their vision. It's also a pragmatic, actionable book about leadership and innovation. We'll all increasingly be called upon to envision, experiment, design and create the worlds in which we desire to live — and avoid those we do not. No one can solve this equation without THE NEXUS convergence: Science, Technology, Art.”

Robert C. Wolcott, Ph.D. Co-Founder & Chair, TWIN Global, Adjunct Professor of Innovation, University of Chicago & Northwestern University

Brian Uzzi

“Great innovation can sometimes — in the hands of a Picasso, DaVinci, or Curie — seem to come out of ether like thunderbolts of ideas. Yet a secret of innovation is to understand that it is often times more of an import/export business of ideas, than raw creativity. Innovation amounts to taking things that are well-understood and taken-for-granted conventions in one field and bringing them into a new field where they are suddenly seen a innovation. This is the essence of NEXUS, an understanding that a source of innovation come from connections among the seemingly disparate worlds of science, art, and technology. This book will inspire your creative vision and ability summon thunderbolts of ideas.”

Brian Uzzi, Richard L. Thomas Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Annelise Riles

“THE NEXUS is an astonishing tour de force. Ottino and Mau break the code on how innovation actually happens — what are the intellectual moves, how do new perspectives come together, what is the grammar of genius—in contexts from the development of technology, to the creation of art, to leadership. The book weaves together hundreds of examples from a broad landscape of fields and contexts with an intellectual maturity that reflects the authors’ seasoned lives in the trenches of innovation. The book has given me a vocabulary for making sense of intuitions and ad hoc observations, and for talking with colleagues in a more precise way about how we create a culture of innovation within the university.”

Annelise Riles, Executive Director, Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

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