Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration Paperback – March 4, 2008
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The central theme of the book is that creativity always comes from groups of people and never really from the lone and crazy inventor. New ideas are always created together with the idea of others. Therefore, if you want to have creativity in your organization, promoting this "collaborative web" is a good idea.
The book consists of 3 different parts. The first part (4 chapters) talks about creating creativity in teams. About how teams can be more... or less than the sum of it's parts and also how to create the environment for creating group flow... the state of productivity and creativity in a group.
The second part (3 chapters) is about creativity research and how people perceive creativity and why their perceptions is often not reality. It contains wonderful descriptions of research experiments and historical facts and the authors perspective on those historical facts. The creativity research is often surprising!
The last part of the book (4 chapters) takes the learnings of the previous chapters and gives suggestions on how to practically apply them in collaborative organization. It explains that as an organization, you need to realize that ideas are created in cooperation between people even with the outside of the organization and trying to put too much control on this will probably kill the creativity and innovation, which on the long-term will probably be harmful for the organization. It gives wonderful examples of this happens, for example, the computer industry from Boston (controlling) vs the one in California (more open).
All in all, I enjoyed the book a lot and it had a couple of very interesting points and insights. It was well written and well researched (though, at times I felt the author did look at e.g. historical events only from the perspective that would make the point he was trying to make). I'd recommend anyone who is interested in creativity to read it and understand the impact of the research and history that the author is describing. All in all, I was thinking between 4 and 5 Amazon stars, yet I decided to go with 4 because though the book is great and insightful, it wasn't a WOW book for me. Still recommended.
While we perceive that we have sudden moments of insight, the `eureka!' moment, in reality these moments are really achieved through lots of tiny steps usually strongly influenced by input from other people. This process is not an `assertion' it is the result of many objective studies which are detailed in the book. The really interesting aspect of this is that the people that experienced the creative `eureka!' moment almost always perceived the experience differently to what actually took place.
What I learned:
1. That we cannot trust our subjective experiences to necessarily accurately reflect reality, at least not without objectively testing them.
2. There is not so much mystery nowadays regarding "Insight" or "Hunches" or "Instincts" and they are certainly not supernatural. They are understandable in practical ways.
3. If you study the latest developments and learnings in the field of neuroscience much of what used to be the realm of the `spiritual' and the `mystery of human existence' and `consciousness' is being understood in much the same way as we have learned why the sun comes up, why people get ill and why it rains.
Do you have the curiosity, drive and interest to learn about reality? Or like so many people nowadays do you prefer to sit inside of a protective shell of subjectivity and ignorance regarding the human experience?
The knowledge is there for those interested in learning.
Through interesting stories on how certain inventions came to be and well based on research the author explains how the myth of the lone genius coming up with an idea all on his own is simply a myth. Our thoughts are the product of our interactions with other and even when we believe that a thought is our own private creation it is actually the end of a gradual process that depends on thoughts of others.
Top international reviews
Sawyers Buch zeigt detailliert was beachtet werden muss, um kollaboratives Schöpfertum zu ermöglichen und entwirft damit ein neues Paradigma, dass nicht nur für Firmen, sondern auch für Bildungseinrichtungen von zentraler Bedeutung ist: "Group Genius" zeigt, dass wir uns verabschieden müssen, vom vereinzelten Lerner, und stattdessen Umgebungen schaffen sollten, in denen der Einzelne seine Signaturstärken entdecken und im Team mit anderen weiterentwickeln kann.
Fazit: Das derzeit beste Buch zum kollaborativen Lernen der Zukunft!
Prof.Dr. Olaf-Axel Burow Universität Kassel