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Creating Things That Matter

The Art and Science of Innovations That Last

David Edwards

Henry Holt and Co.

Creating Things That Matter Download image

ISBN10: 1250147182
ISBN13: 9781250147189


288 Pages



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Art and science are famous opposites. Contemporary innovation mostly keeps them far apart. But in this book, David Edwards—world-renowned inventor; Harvard professor of the practice of idea translation; creator of breathable insulin, edible food packaging, and digital scents—reveals that the secret to creating very new things of lasting benefit, including innovations we will need to sustain human life on the planet, lies in perceiving art and science as one.

Here Edwards shares how he discovered a way of creating that transcends disciplines and incorporates the principles of aesthetics. He introduces us to cutting-edge artists, musicians, architects, physicists, mathematicians, engineers, chefs, choreographers, and novelists (among others) and uncovers a three-step cycle they all share in creating things that durably matter. This creator cycle looks unlike what we associate with game-changing innovation today, and aligns the most expressive art and the most revolutionary science in a radical reimagining of how we live. David Edwards and the innovators he profiles belong to an emerging grassroots renaissance flourishing in special environments that we all can make in our schools, companies and homes.

Creating Things That Matter is a book for anyone wondering what tomorrow might be, and at last half believing that what they do can make a difference.


Praise for Creating Things That Matter

“David Edwards offers a compelling take on how people from different disciplines can come together to create things of lasting value. It will change for the better the way you think about innovation.”—Cal Newport, author of Deep Work

“Skillfully weaving together both art and science, David Edwards gives us all permission to create in ways that yield meaningful innovation for the world and deep and playful satisfaction for ourselves.”—Ellen Langer, author of Mindfulness

“A stimulating book, to be read and pondered as one might a set of cards from Brian Eno.”—Kirkus Reviews

“In this fascinating study, Edwards, Harvard professor and inventor, explores an adventurous approach to creating new products and services . . . His work imparts an invigorating sense of discovery and of hope for a more innovative, compassionate, and collaborative future.”—Publishers Weekly


Read an Excerpt


Most things we create will not matter. This book is about creating things that do. It is about how we create things that bring enduring value to the planet.

We get the general idea of creating when we build our first...

About the author

David Edwards

David Edwards is a creator, writer, and educator. He teaches at Harvard University and is founder of Le Laboratoire in Paris, France, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. His work, which spans the arts and sciences, has been featured prominently in the international media, and is at the core of the international artscience movement. He lives with his wife and their three sons in Boston.

Edwards is the author of Creating Things That Matter.

Adam DeTour

David Edwards

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Le Laboratoire Cambridge

TEDxBoston: Catalyzing Innovation through ArtScience