David Burkus' new book, "The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas," is among the best business books I've read this year. It provides a valuable review of research and practices related to the process of innovation. It's impossible to read "The Myths of Creativity" and not come away with new, useful practices that will improve your ability to innovate. I highly recommend it.
Readers of this book will gain a newfound appreciation for just how difficult innovation is. Fortunately, Burkus equips readers with practices to help individuals and organizations overcome the biases and potential pitfalls that frequently derail innovation. For example, Burkus shows how conflict is a necessary part of the process and represents a risk to innovation if it gets personal. He then goes on to provide a solution by describing the practice Pixar developed that employs conflict in a constructive way while keeping it from escalating...
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As is the case with a lot of business books, too much emphasis is placed on the greatness of companies, and too little on the greatness of the people who work there. Companies may be powerful or influential or profitable, but they are not creative. It is the people who work there who do the heavy creative lifting (or agencies or individuals who are contracted to help out), and author David Burkus, in his new book, "The Myths of Creativity," seems unwilling to accept this as fact. Granted, he credits innovators and creative geniuses, but focuses too much on the whole and not enough on the parts that make it up--literally and figuratively. As such, this book is probably oriented more toward upper management--a group that seems, in my experience, at least, to have the lowest level of creative inspiration in any organization.
Creativity is the starting point for all innovation, and most organizations rely on innovation to create a competitive advantage. Innovation is necessary for the successful development and implementation of new programs or better products. Because of this, leaders of organizations in all industries are asking more questions about creativity. Where does it come from? How can we get more of it? Where do we find creative people? All these questions are valid, but the myths about creativity often lead us to the wrong answers. To lead innovation efforts, we must have a better understanding of where creativity comes from and how to enhance the creativity of ourselves and the people we lead.
David Burkus is a university professor who teaches courses on creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, and organizational behavior. He is the founder and editor of LDRLB, an online publication (which includes one of my favorite podcasts) that shares insights from research on leadership,...
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