Creativity & Innovation: Top Picks

The creativity success manifesto

Jurgen Wolff

Whether you want to start a blog, write a best-seller or launch a new business venture, success in any kind of creative endeavour depends on some common factors. Understand and accept those factors and your chances of hitting the jackpot will be multiplied.

Cultivating a creative workforce

James M. Kerr

We all want to work in a gratifying and stimulating environment – one that brings out the best in us and our colleagues. But how do you cultivate such a work environment? The place to start is by building a creative workforce.

Innovative companies don't fear failure

Brian Amble

The world's most innovative companies welcome and harness failure to help them devise more successful ideas, a new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit has found.

The leader's link to creativity and productivity

Dan Bobinski

Far, far too many managers stifle the creativity and commitment of their people simply by the way they behave. But if they started doing more listening and less bossing, employee creativity and involvement might re-emerge.

Proof that innovation pays dividends

Brian Amble

It's often said that innovative firms perform better than their more pedestrian competitors. But where's the proof? And if they do perform better, by how much?

More on Creativity & Innovation

A retrospective of the 21st Century

Bill Fischer

Looking back at the first decade of the 21st century, it's hard to avoid thinking that we should be ashamed of how little we have accomplished. But even if we haven't seen much revolutionary change, some vital trends have nevertheless emerged that will shape all of our lives.

Teamwork and creativity

Edward de Bono

Many people believe that creativity should be as free and unstructured as possible. But I would argue that creativity can better be delivered through teams whose function and tasks are clearly and distinctly defined.

The value of collaboration

Bill Fischer

Co-creation is the business idea of the moment. Why? Because the more ideas you can work with, the better. So more minds are always better than fewer, and the more different minds you can enlist, the higher the probability of finding a really different idea.

Management thinking is not all about problems

Edward de Bono

Far too many executives believe that management thinking is all about continuity and problem-solving. But what if something is not a problem?

Innovation lessons from Apple

Bill Fischer

Almost everyone's choice for the most innovative firm of recent years is Apple. But as history shows, it's far from easy to deliver consistent innovation. So what is the secret of Apple's innovation success?

Why intelligence does not equal better thinking

Edward de Bono

Most of us assume that intelligent people are better at thinking. But this is not necessarily true. Just because somebody is good at analysis doesn't mean that they will be good at design thinking or operational thinking.

Looking beyond problem-solving

Edward de Bono

Problem-solving is valuable in itself. But identifying a problem and working to put it right isn't the key to unlocking real creativity. That's all about exploring possibilities, questioning established ideas and looking for value.

Can China's maintain its competitive advantage?

Bill Fischer

Until now, China's competitive advantage has been based on cheap labour, not innovation. But if it is to remain anything more than a low-wage producer, China has to find innovative ways of sustaining growth.

Leadership and the need for creative thinking

Edward de Bono

It's no accident that business is more interested in thinking than other sectors of society. It is because business has a reality test. There is a bottom line. There are results. And better or more creative thinking will result in more profits or market share.

From blind spots to strategic intelligence

Bettina Büchel

Nothing breeds success like success, the old proverb goes. But this is not always the case when it comes to business growth. Many organizations become victims of their own success. They achieve rapid growth by introducing new products but quickly find that they cannot sustain this for more than a couple of years.

Shanghai: forging the future?

Bill Fischer

The gala opening of the Shanghai Expo has focused the world's attention on this vibrant city that - or so we are told - is "forging the future". But while one can't doubt Shanghai's size and vibrancy, it's potential impact on the future is much more of a moot point.

How can you tell when you need new ideas?

Edward de Bono

Improvements often require creativity. So there is a real need to spend some time thinking creatively to try to find a better solution, even when there is a routine solution to a problem or a routine way of doing something.

Creativity deserves to be taken seriously

Edward de Bono

Organisations spend a large amount of money on computers and IT systems. But while information is essential, so are ideas. Yet creativity isn't taken seriously at all.

Improving, not inventing: the secret of China's success

Bill Fischer

China is affecting the way global business operates and the way value-chains work. In particular, it is changing the speed at which business is done. And to do this, it is concentrating on improving, rather than inventing.

Fish in a different pond

Andy Hanselman

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always had. That why you need to start thinking and doing differently if you want to generate any real innovation.

The power of proactive thinking

Edward de Bono

Every organisation can benefit from some deliberate thinking. This isn't the thinking we do when we are sitting at a desk or taking part in a discussion. It is a formal process designed to generate new ideas and perceptions, and to take action around any possibilities that exist.

If you want to succeed, get used to failure

Max McKeown

Failure is commonplace. Ninety-nine percent of all species and organisations that exist will eventually disappear. Once you accept this and understand that every innovation begins with a series of aberrations, you will be better placed to succeed now and in the future.

How new ideas can challenge complacency

Edward de Bono

If you want to challenge complacency in an organisation, you need to make a strong case with strong ideas. Simply claiming that 'things could be better' is too vague.

Business improvement ideas: working in groups

Edward de Bono

Original thinkers ought to have the courage to pursue ideas on their own - even when those around them are negative. But there are some situations where groups can be helpful in coming up with ideas to improve the way a business operates.

Open spaces, open minds

Max McKeown

I'm often appalled at the physical spaces and meeting formats in which people are meant to open their minds, solve problems and inspire progress. Desks are for filling in forms and filing papers – not for creating, thinking, making, learning, or collaborating.

Creative thinking beyond the main track

Edward de Bono

More information does not in itself produce new ideas. Neither does more analysis or more logic. That's why there is a real need to develop the skill of creative thinking.

Creativity is easier when it's structured

Edward de Bono

There is a mistaken belief that there should be no restrictions or barriers around creativity. But in reality, creativity is easier if there is some structure. The introduction of focus actually enhances the process.

Reinventing the wheel

Max McKeown

It's easy to think that something is so simple that you couldn't improve it or so low-tech your intellect would be wasted even thinking about it. But you'd be wrong. Because anything that is invented can - and often should - be reinvented.

Focusing on problem-solving can lead to complacency

Edward de Bono

When things are going smoothly and there are no problems, people are fooled into believing there is no need to think. So they are lulled into a state of complacency – and continuity does not produce new ideas.

More Good Stuff

Business improvement ideas: don't just settle for excellent

Edward de Bono

The usual way to bring about chnage is to prove that something is wrong or inadequate and needs altering. But if something is already adequate, a new idea is unlikely to be adopted, however much better it is.

Management innovation: the next big breakthrough?

Robert Heller

Almost every car on the planet will eventually be electrified. But new types of car will require new styles of manager, too. So are there any Americans out there who can rise to the challenge?

Any fool can do either. Smart people learn to do both

Max McKeown

Innovation promises benefits without all of the costs. The aim is to have your cake and eat it – to deliver two benefits that contradict each other. But to come up with things that do this, you need to learn to think better.

Any fool can do either. Smart people learn to do both

Max McKeown

Innovation promises benefits without all of the costs. The aim is to have your cake and eat it – to deliver two benefits that contradict each other. But to come up with things that do this, you need to learn to think better.

Overcoming the limitations of language

Edward de Bono

Language is OK at describing new things - a helicopter, television or computer - but less good at describing new types of mental behaviour. So perhaps we need to invent a new word to describe certain types of mental activity.

Quick fixes can lead to great innovations

Max McKeown

Most innovation is quick-and-dirty. And that's particularly true in a recession when people try to do more with less, to invent rather than buy and experiment rather than live with the status-quo. So rather than dismiss them, pay attention to quick fixes.

Make concepts part of your strategy

Edward de Bono

In a business, who should be on the lookout for 'concepts'? Concepts can occur to anyone at any time, so the answer is that it is everybody's business to look for new concepts.

Can too much success lead to failure?

Bob Selden

A strange phenomenon has arisen as a result of the recession. Because it's the most successful companies which seem to be the ones needing to make the most radical changes in their thinking in order to weather the storm.

How creative people can 'smell' a useful idea

Edward de Bono

At an early stage, creative people can sense the 'smell' of a new idea. They are then sufficiently motivated to pursue and develop that creative thought. But how do they do it?

How creative thinking can help in the downturn

Edward de Bono

It doesn't matter what the economic conditions are, better thinking is never a luxury. And now, when times are hard, better thinking – which must must include creativity - is an absolute necessity.

What's working around here?

Bob Selden

The financial crisis and the ever-increasing rate of unemployment highlights the need to foster creativity and innovation. But before you expect employees to be innovative, managers have develop their own creative mindsets.

You can't control the waves, so learn to surf

Max McKeown

As recent events have demonstrated, waves are bigger than any individual, company, or nation. To survive them, you need to learn to read the signs and then ride the surf all the way to shore.