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Creative People Must Be Stopped: 6 Ways We Kill Innovation (Without Even Trying)



Creative People Must Be Stopped: 6 Ways We Kill Innovation (Without Even Trying)

David A Owens

ISBN: 978-1-118-00290-2 November 2011 Jossey-Bass 304 Pages

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A framework for overcoming the six types of innovation killers

Everybody wants innovation—or do they? Creative People Must Be Stopped shows how individuals and organizations sabotage their own best intentions to encourage "outside the box" thinking. It shows that the antidote to this self-defeating behavior is to identify which of the six major types of constraints are hindering innovation: individual, group, organizational, industry-wide, societal, or technological. Once innovators and other leaders understand exactly which constraints are working against them and how to overcome them, they can create conditions that foster innovation instead of stopping it in its tracks.

The author's model of constraints on innovation integrates insights from the vast literature on innovation with his own observations of hundreds of organizations. The book is filled with assessments, tools, and real-world examples.

  • The author's research has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, London Guardian and San Jose Mercury News, as well as on Fox News and on NPR's Marketplace
  • Includes illustrative examples from leading organizations
  • Offers a practical guide for bringing new ideas to fruition even within a previously rigid organizational culture

This book gives people in organizations the conceptual framework and practical information they need to innovate successfully.

Introduction: Creative People Must Be Stopped! 1

1. The Context of Innovation: Why Everyone Wants Innovation but No One Wants to Change 3

2. Why Most of Us Are More Creative Than We Think: Individual Innovation Constraints 25

3. Why a Brainstorm Meeting Can Be Worse Than No Meeting at All: Innovation Constraints in Groups 57

4. Why You’ll Never Be a Prophet in Your Hometown: Organizational Innovation Constraints 95

5. If It’s Such a Great Idea, Why Isn’t Our Competitor Doing It? Industry Innovation Constraints 125

6. Why My Innovation Means You Have to Change: Societal Innovation Constraints 157

7. How to Take a Really Hard Problem and Make It Completely Impossible: Technological Innovation Constraints 187

8. When Failure Is Not an Option: Leading an Innovation Strategy 223

Appendix A: Using the Assessment Results 249

Appendix B: Innovation Team Contract Guidelines 255

Appendix C: An Innovation Bookshelf 259

References 261

Acknowledgments 267

About the Author 271

Index 273

This book is dedicated to my lovely ladies, Jennifer, Charlotte, and Adelaide

Creative People Must Be Stopped is among the best books ever written about human imagination in the workplace. David Owens is a master innovator, having practiced his craft as a product designer, researcher, teacher, creativity coach, and executive.  The breadth and depth of his experience fills every page of this little gem, which is chock full of hundreds of big and little steps that you can take right now to do more creative work and to lead more innovative teams and organizations.”
Robert Sutton, Stanford Professor
Author of the New York Times bestseller
Good Boss, Bad Boss

This is no rarefied academic treatment on innovation as an abstract ideal, but a nuts and bolts handbook to dissecting our thought patterns about innovation. Owens dispels the myth that innovation is a binary trait that either exists or does not in a given product, process or business model. Creative People Must be Stopped addresses the myriad ways that novel ideas can fail in the marketplace. Working through a combination of thought experiments and real world examples, the book demonstrates how failures in understanding the context for innovation can prove every bit as deadly to progress as failures of imagination.”
Mark Rowan, President
Griffin Technology Inc.

Dave Owens has delivered the survival guide every would-be innovation team requires before entering the fracas battle of bringing ideas to life. Read ‘6 Ways We Kill Innovation’ if you are serious about making stuff and making stuff happen in this dangerous world for good ideas and the creative people who love them.”
Peter Durand, Alphachimp Studio
Leading expert in graphic facilitation