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Managing Creative People: Lessons in Leadership for the Ideas Economy

ISBN: 978-0-470-72645-7
318 pages
May 2008
Managing Creative People: Lessons in Leadership for the Ideas Economy (0470726458) cover image


A clash between the ideology of growth and the growth of ideas, between control and creativity, between measurement and the immeasurable, between predictability and the fickle muses of inspiration in engulfing our boardrooms.


In this scathing swipe at the institutionalised idiocy that is stifling creativity just at the time the world needs it most Gordon Torr draws from the leading lights of creativity research to demolish the myths that surround the generation of ideas in the modern organisation.  


The curse of the brainstorm, the commoditisation of creative talent, the deskilling of the imagination, the startling inadequacies of management theory – these and the many other horrors of idea-assassination that run rampant in creative sector companies are dissected and disembowelled in this hilarious expose of the drama that unfolds every time a new idea slides across the boardroom table.

This book sets out to address the black hole that surrounds the management of creative people, debunking many myths of creativity, and outlining a revolutionary approach to the pressing issue of creative productivity in the contemporary creative sector company.

A handbook of tools, techniques, methods and practical ideas whose USP is a framework for thinking about efficient creative management – how to extract value from creative time.  Gordon Torr presents a logical argument that puts in place the building blocks of the author’s knowledge and experience towards the final architecture.

We need them as never before.  And we know that they’re somehow different.  Yet the productive management of creative people is an almost totally neglected science. I doubt if there’s a single industry that wouldn’t gain immediate advantage from Gordon Torr’s scrupulous and enlightening detective work.”

-  Jeremy Bullmore



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Table of Contents




1. The Day the World Ran out of Ideas.

2. The Problem with Creative People.

3. Two Guys in a Garage.

4. 21st Century Snake-Oil.

5. The Biology of Inspiration.

6. The Creative Personality.

7. The Survival of the Weirdest.

8. Towards a Formula for Genius.

9. The Barbel and the Breadboard.


Introduction to Part II.

10. The Muse’s Ransom.

11. Poison in the Water-Cooler.

12. Podsnaps and Ponytails.

13. Structures and Strictures.

14. Place Matters.

15. The Road to Exit Five.

16. The Maze.

17. The Guardians of the Maze.

18. The New Patronage.


Further Reading List.


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Author Information

Artist, journalist and musician, Gordon Torr has lived and worked in South Africa, Mexico and the UK. He was Creative Director of one of the world’s biggest advertising agencies before launching his consultancy, The Unfactory, which specialises in the organization and management of creative sector companies.


Cover design by Dennis Field

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"a breath of fresh air". (Financial Times, Thursday 10th April 2008)


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