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The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas

ISBN: 978-1-118-61114-2
224 pages
October 2013, Jossey-Bass
The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas (1118611144) cover image

Description

How to get past the most common myths about creativity to design truly innovative strategies

We tend to think of creativity in terms reminiscent of the ancient muses: divinely-inspired, unpredictable, and bestowed upon a lucky few. But when our jobs challenge us to be creative on demand, we must develop novel, useful ideas that will keep our organizations competitive. The Myths of Creativity demystifies the processes that drive innovation. Based on the latest research into how creative individuals and firms succeed, David Burkus highlights the mistaken ideas that hold us back and shows us how anyone can embrace a practical approach, grounded in reality, to finding the best new ideas, projects, processes, and programs.

  • Answers questions such as: What causes us to be creative in one moment and void in the next? What makes someone more or less creative than his or her peers? Where do our flashes of creative insight come from, and how can we generate more of them?
  • Debunks 10 common myths, including: the Eureka Myth; the Lone Creator Myth; the Incentive Myth; and The Brainstorming Myth
  • Written by David Burkus, founder of popular leadership blog LDRLB

For anyone who struggles with creativity, or who makes excuses for delaying the work of innovation, The Myths of Creativity will help you overcome your obstacles to finding new ideas.

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Table of Contents

1 The Creative Mythology 1

2 The Eureka Myth 17

3 The Breed Myth 33

4 The Originality Myth 49

5 The Expert Myth 67

6 The Incentive Myth 87

7 The Lone Creator Myth 105

8 The Brainstorming Myth 125

9 The Cohesive Myth 141

10 The Constraints Myth 159

11 The Mousetrap Myth 177

Notes 195

Acknowledgments 203

About the Author 205

Index 207

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Author Information

David Burkus is the founder and editor of LDRLB, an online publication that shares insights from research on leadership, innovation, and strategy. He is assistant professor of management at Oral Roberts University and also a regular columnist for 99U and The Creativity Post. He lives outside Tulsa, Oklahoma, with his wife and son.

For more information, please visit www.davidburkus.com or on Twitter via @davidburkus.

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Reviews

“An engaging book that makes its case in good, clear language… [Burkus] forces us to challenge some widely held assumptions.”
—Morgen Witzel, The Financial Times

“Outlines how anyone—especially entrepreneurs—can embrace a practical approach to finding the best kind of mojo for new projects, processes and programs.”
—Entrepreneur.com (selected as a “Best Business Book to Get Cozy With This Fall”)

“We may no longer literally worship the Muses, but the myths surrounding creativity continue to delude us. In this smart and urgent book, David Burkus explodes these myths and replaces them with the scientific results of modern research on creativity and innovation.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author, To Sell is Human and Drive

“Creative potential is all too often held captive by misconceptions. Burkus tackles the myths head on and digs into the true underpinnings of creative insight. It turns out that great ideas are within your grasp as soon as you take the reins. Read this book to free yourself of the myths and assumptions that burden your true creative potential.”
—Scott Belsky, author, Making Ideas Happen and cofounder & CEO, BEHANCE

“Through rigorous research and engaging stories, Burkus debunks the myths of creativity and illuminates a creative process that makes ingenuity accessible to all. If you seek a more innovative company, The Myths of Creativity is a brilliant find.”
—Liz Wiseman, author, Multipliers, and founder, The Wiseman Group

“David Burkus is an important new voice, both as a scholar and storyteller, as well as a commentator of the emerging ‘GenEntrepreneur’ in America.”
—Peter Sims, author, Little Bets, and founder, BLK SHP

The Myths of Creativity speaks the truth.  The processes, environments, and organizational structures that foster creativity, as well as the obstacles that inhibit innovation, are laid bare. David Burkus uncovers the hidden elements which have been at the core of Continuum's innovation process, driving us to find better answers to the biggest questions.”
—Gianfranco Zaccai, president, chief design officer, and founder, Continuum

“You must embrace your creative ability in order to thrive in today's marketplace. David Burkus swiftly and effectively debunks the myths that limit your creative firepower.”
—Todd Henry, author, The Accidental Creative

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Press Release

October 08, 2013
The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas

The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas

How to get past the most common myths about creativity to design truly innovative strategies

We tend to think of creativity in terms reminiscent of the ancient muses: divinely-inspired, unpredictable, and bestowed upon a lucky few. But when our jobs challenge us to be creative on demand, we must develop novel, useful ideas that will keep our organizations competitive. The Myths of Creativity demystifies the processes that drive innovation. Based on the latest research into how creative individuals and firms succeed, David Burkus highlights the mistaken ideas that hold us back and shows us how anyone can embrace a practical approach, grounded in reality, to finding the best new ideas, projects, processes, and programs.

  • Answers questions such as: What causes us to be creative in one moment and void in the next? What makes someone more or less creative than his or her peers? Where do our flashes of creative insight come from, and how can we generate more of them?
  • Debunks 10 common myths, including: the Eureka Myth; the Lone Creator Myth; the Incentive Myth; and The Brainstorming Myth
  • Written by David Burkus, founder of popular leadership blog LDRLB (pronounced “leader lab”).

For anyone who struggles with creativity, or who makes excuses for delaying the work of innovation, The Myths of Creativity will help you overcome your obstacles to finding new ideas.

Premise of the Myths:

The Eureka Myth: Creative insight is typically a slow hunch, not sudden spark

The Breed Myth: Creativity is not a trait that only certain individuals hold.

The Originality: Myth Creative ideas are actually new combinations of older ideas.

The Expert Myth: Creative insight is often generated by outsiders, not experts.

The Incentive Myth: Extrinsic motivators do little to enhance creativity.

The Lone Creator Myth: Creativity is not the product of loosely connected individuals.

The Brainstorming Myth: Creativity requires more than the rapid generation of ideas.

The Cohesive Myth: Cohesive, “feel good” cultures are not optimal for creativity.

The Constraints Myth: Creative insight often requires constraints.

The Mousetrap Myth: Creative ideas are rarely celebrated at first.

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