Awesome Reads

Out of Our Minds by Ken Robinson“Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative”
– by Ken Robinson

There is a paradox. As children, most of us think we are highly creative; as adults many of us think we are not. What changes as children grow up? Organizations across the globe are competing in a world that is changing faster than ever. They say they need people who can think creatively, who are flexible and quick to adapt. Too often they say they can’t find them. Why not? In this provocative and inspiring book, Ken Robinson addresses three vital questions:

  • Why is it essential to promote creativity? Business leaders, politicians and educators emphasize the vital importance of promoting creativity andinnovation. Why does this matter so much?
  • What is the problem? Why do so many people think they’re not creative? Young children are buzzing with ideas. What happens as we grow up and go through school to make us think we arenot creative?
  • What can be done about it? What is creativity? What can companies, schools and organizations do to develop creativity and innovation in a deliberate and systematic way?

In this extensively revised and updated version of his bestselling classic, Out of Our Minds, Ken Robinson offers a groundbreaking approach to understanding creativity in education and in business. He argues that people and organizations everywhere are dealing with problems that originate in schools and universities and that many people leave education with no idea at all of their real creative abilities. Out of Our Minds is a passionate and powerful call for radically different approaches to leadership, teaching and professional development to help us all to meet the extraordinary challenges of living and working in the 21st century.

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The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley
 “The Art of Innovation”
– by Tom Kelley

IDEO, the widely admired, award-winning design and development firm that brought the world the Apple mouse, Polaroid’s I-Zone instant camera, the Palm V, and hundreds of other cutting-edge products and services, reveals its secrets for fostering a culture and process of continuous innovation. In The Art of Innovation, Tom Kelley, general manager of the Silicon Valley based design firm IDEO, takes readers behind the scenes of this wildly imaginative and energized company to reveal its secrets for fostering a culture and process of continuous innovation. IDEO doesn’t buy into the myth of the lone genius working away in isolation, waiting for great ideas to strike. Kelley believes everyone can be creative, and the goal at his firm is to tap into that wellspring of creativity in order to make innovation a way of life. How does it do that? IDEO fosters an atmosphere conducive to freely expressing ideas, breaking the rules, and freeing people to design their own work environments. IDEO’s focus on teamwork generates countless breakthroughs, fueled by the constant give-and-take among people ready to share ideas and reap the benefits of the group process. IDEO has created an intense, quick-turnaround, brainstorm-and-build process dubbed “the Deep Dive.”

In entertaining anecdotes, Kelley illustrates some of his firm’s own successes (and joyful failures), as well as pioneering efforts at other leading companies. The book reveals how teams research and immerse themselves in every possible aspect of a new product or service, examining it from the perspective of clients, consumers, and other critical audiences.

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“Disrupt”
– by Luke Williams

Disrupt is about a way of thinking that surprises the market again and again with exciting, unexpected solutions. A way of thinking that produces an unconventional strategy that leaves competitors scrambling to catch up. A way of thinking that turns consumer expectations upside down and takes an industry into its next generation. It’s what Luke calls disruptive thinking. In this process–the one you’ll be following in this book–disruptive thinking is not so much about how to spot and react to disruptive changes in technology and the marketplace; it’s about how to be the disruptive change.

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“What Matters Now: How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation
~ by Gary Hamel

What Matters Now is Gary Hamel’s impassioned plea to rethink the fundamental assumptions we have about management, the meaning of work, and organizational life. He asks, “What are the fundamental, make-or-break issues that will determine whether your organization thrives or dives in the years ahead?” The answer is found in five paramount issues: values, innovation, adaptability, passion, and ideology.

Values: With trust in large organizations at an all time low, there is an urgent need to rebuild the ethical foundations of capitalism. What’s required is nothing less than a moral renaissance in business.

Innovation: Innovation is the only defense against margin-crushing competition, and the only way to outgrow a dismal economy. In too many companies, innovation is still a buzzword, rather than the responsibility of every single individual. This must change.

Adaptability: In a world of accelerating change, every company must build an evolutionary advantage. The forces of inertia must be vanquished. The ultimate prize: an organization that is as nimble as change itself.

Passion: In business as in life, the difference between “insipid” and “inspired” is passion. With mediocrity fast becoming a competitive liability, success depends on finding new ways to rouse the human spirit at work.

Ideology: Today, businesses need more than better practices; they need better principles. Bureaucracy and control have had their day. It’s time for a new ideology based on freedom and self-determination.

Here’s a link to a Forbes review of the book.

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“Innovation in a Reinvented World: 10 Essential Elements to Succeed in the New World of Business”

~ by Dee McCrorey

A step-by-step guide to the 10 essential and practical skills a business needs to innovate and thrive in uncertain times.

The reinvented world of business will profoundly impact America’sn(and global) leaders and workers in the decade ahead. Companies capable of transforming their organizations during this period of “Great Disruption” will thrive in the reinvented world however, the reverse holds true as well.

Innovation in a Reinvented World reveals how transformation occurs when business leaders and their organizations apply these 10 Essential Elements, providing both a road map and definitive blueprint for companies of any size looking to bridge the old world with the new world of business.

  • Discusses the “new courage” required for innovating in a reinvented world
  • Looks at 10 Essential Elements winning companies count on today

Innovation in a Reinvented World helps executives and leadership teams navigate and manage their organizations’ inflection points in designing, building, and sustaining innovation—even through the post-recession playing field.

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“The Ten Faces of Innovation”
– by Tom Kelley

The author of the bestselling The Art of Innovation reveals the strategies IDEO, the world-famous design firm, uses to foster innovative thinking throughout an organization and overcome the naysayers who stifle creativity.

The role of the devil’s advocate is nearly universal in business today. It allows individuals to step outside themselves and raise questions and concerns that effectively kill new projects and ideas, while claiming no personal responsibility. Nothing is more potent in stifling innovation.

Drawing on nearly 20 years of experience managing IDEO, Kelley identifies ten roles people can play in an organization to foster innovation and new ideas while offering an effective counter to naysayers. Among these approaches are the Anthropologist—the person who goes into the field to see how customers use and respond to products, to come up with new innovations; the Cross-pollinator who mixes and matches ideas, people, and technology to create new ideas that can drive growth; and the Hurdler, who instantly looks for ways to overcome the limits and challenges to any situation.

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“Think Better”
– by Tim Hurson

There are thousands of books about thinking. But there are very few books that provide clear how-to information that can actually help you think better.

Think Better is about Productive Thinking — why it’s important, how it works, and how to use it at work, at home, and at play. Productive Thinking is a game changer — a practical, easy-to-learn, repeatable process that helps people understand more clearly, think more creatively, and plan more effectively. It’s based on the thinking strategies that people we celebrate for their creativity have been using for centuries. Tim Hurson brings Productive Thinking out of the closet and presents it in a way that makes it easy for anyone to grasp and use — so you can think better, work better, and do better in every aspect of your life.

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“Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius”
– by Michael Michalko

In this trailblazing book, internationally renowned business creativity expert Michael Michalko shows how creative people think—and how to put their secrets to work for you. To create this book, Michalko researched and analyzed hundreds of history’s greatest thinkers—from Leonardo da Vinci to Pablo Picasso—and then brought their techniques into the modern home and workplace. The follow-up to the popular THINKERTOYS, which sold over 80,000 copies.

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“Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques”
– by Michael Michalko

In hindsight, every great idea seems obvious. But how can you be the person who comes up with those ideas?

In this revised and expanded edition of his groundbreaking Thinkertoys, creativity expert Michael Michalko reveals life-changing tools that will help you think like a genius. From the linear to the intuitive, this comprehensive handbook details ingenious creative-thinking techniques for approaching problems in unconventional ways. Through fun and thought-provoking exercises, you’ll learn how to create original ideas that will improve your personal life and your business life. Michalko’s techniques show you how to look at the same information as everyone else and see something different.

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The Ultimate Book of Business Creativity: 50 Great Thinking Tools for Transforming Your Business
“The Ultimate Book of Business Creativity: 50 Great Thinking Tools For Transforming Your Business”
– by Ros Jay

This book is a good resource for creativity techniques, to help you harness all your great ideas and put then to work in your organisation. It brings together for the first time all the most valuable tools for generating breakthrough ideas – free from consultant’s hype. From brainstorming and brainwriting to Mind Mapping and story-boarding, every page of “The Ultimate Book of Business Creativity” will inspire you to think about your business in a radically different way.

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“A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative”
– by Roger von Oech

Roger von Oech uses a combination of explanation, puzzles, and irreverent artwork in his treatise on creative thinking. This is a book about the ten mental locks that prevent you from being more innovative and what you can do to open them. Many of the ideas presented here come from the author’s experiences as a creative thinking consultant in industry. During the past five years he had the opportunity to work with many innovative and/or interesting companies. He worked with people in marketing, engineering, data processing, finance, research and development, television, and retail. This book contains stories, anecdotes, insights, and ideas that came out of the workshops he conducted as well as many of his own thoughts about what can make you more creative.