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

David Burkus

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 1118611144

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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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as a means to further their own intellectual pursuits. Voltaire, Danton, and even Benjamin Franklin attended meetings at a Masonic lodge named Les Neufs Soeurs, “the Nine Sisters.” Our modern culture still feels the effects of their efforts in such words as museum, whose original meaning was “cult place of the muses” but has since come to refer to 3 the myths of creativity any place where public knowledge or creative works are displayed. The remnants of this original mythology appear in many

“mouse” tethered to the computer. Through its creation, Microsoft has changed the way 60 The Originality Myth most humans interact with computers. But that’s not the story loyal Apple users will tell you. Apple loyalists, sometimes called MacHeads, will tell you that Bill Gates and Microsoft copied the most distinctive feature of Windows, known as the graphical user interface (GUI), from the Apple Macintosh.21 The time lines support their theory. Apple released its Macintosh system in 1984.

to Edison alone. The team referred to themselves as “muckers” and overtook the upstairs space of Edison’s Menlo Park warehouse. There were approximately fourteen muckers working alongside Edison, including Charles Batchelor, John Adams, John Kruesi, John Ott, and Charles Wurth. Many of them have their names alongside or even in front of Edison’s on the patents created at Menlo Park. It’s worth noting that Edison’s name alone sits atop the patent for “Improvement in Electric Lights.” However, that

if we want to be as creative as Pixar or make innovative products like Evernote, we need to build teams that are happy and playful all the time. Although the folks at both companies certainly enjoy their work and their teams, they also understand that conflict, not cohesion, can drive their creative process. When we focus too much on making our teams cohesive, we give up the creative boost that comes from having to defend an idea. We lose the ability to strengthen the idea through criticism. If

or standard operating procedures for any work produced. Painting requires paint. Music requires notes and scales. These examples are overly simplistic, but they 167 the myths of creativity demonstrate the nature of domain constraints. Domain constraints promote creativity by providing a structure that people can work within and a standard against which they can produce variations. This is why many creative individuals sometimes set their own domain constraints. They limit variability and make

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