Short answer is no, a famous thinker is no better than a great one. Grass roots ideas are the most potent source of creativity. Be labelled famous is often the kiss of death and the end of real creativity.
Authenticity, not fame, is the source.
And yet we hesitate to invest the time to hear ideas from lesser-known sources. It’s not fair to the unknown inventor, but it’s true.
I think this is changing and fast. The permeability of the web means that you don’t have to start at the top, don’t have to get picked by TED or by a big blog or by anyone with influence. Pick yourself.
It’s true that when you pick yourself, people aren’t as likely to embrace your idea (at first). That’s because the personal risk of hearing new ideas from new places is the fear that our opinion of the idea might not match everyone else’s.
The real risk of interacting with unproven ideas is the fear that we might not react in a way our peers expect.
The desire to fit in often overwhelms our curiosity.