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Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity Paperback – March 28, 1997

2.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What value does your company put on creativity? It's not just media and high-tech companies that have to invest in the creative minds of their employees: every organization must make creativity a top priority in order to last beyond the next reporting period. In Jamming, John Kao shows how high-performance companies have learned the lessons of creativity to leap ahead of obsolete competitors. They have learned to make creativity tangible and actionable, they practice a new managerial mindset, and they have learned to leverage information technology to enhance creative collaboration. From clearing the obstacles to organizational creativity to conducting a "creativity audit" that assesses the current value of your company's creativity, Jamming shows business leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs how to take their companies to an entirely new level of success and growth by fostering an environment that will anticipate tomorrow's needs. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

It took a Chinese American student listening to jazz and jamming with a group of African Americans at a private boarding school to internalize the polar tensions between musical score and improvisation and come up with a formula for creativity. Kao, now a professor at Harvard Business School, has been using the jamming metaphor to teach creative entrepreneurship for 14 years. In business, the score is not a musical theme but an idea, process or question that takes on new dimensions when bandied about by a group. This business version of jamming, Kao says, is the creative advantage that can give a company a competitive edge. Kao tells how to audit and manage creativity and describes techniques for clearing the mind to render it receptive to the improvisational flow. Never was the need or the opportunity so great, he claims, as now amid the deluge of information descending from cyberspace. Chapters end with a list of "riffs," or pithy tips for business leaders. Kao offers succinct advice cleverly packaged.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; Reprint edition (March 28, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887308643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887308642
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,827,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't waste your time. I wrote a long review, then deleted it when it occured to me that I don't like wasting time... so I won't waste yours.
The jazz metaphore flags, the cheerleader-like tones grow monotonous, the new-age recommendations are laughable, and the lack of research is deplorable (especially from someone with JK's letters).
For twice the money, you can find a hundred times more information in, CORPORATE CREATIVITY by Alan G. Robinson, it's even organized in chapters, and Robinson throws in a little research to boot.
Sorry for the terse review. The subject is extermely difficult to write about - I'm trying it myself. I think John can do better than this. The book is weak.
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Format: Paperback
In the final paragraph, Kao claims that in his book he has proposed "a way of managing creativity in an intentional and systematic fashion." Intentional perhaps but certainly not systematic. In fact, apparently wishing to demonstrate the improvisational approach of a jazz musician, he plays fast and loose with all manner of generalizations about creativity without developing any of the ideas in depth. The core concept is clever: Kao asserts that there similarities between a jam session during which jazz music is performed and a brainstorm session during which new ideas about doing business are generated and evaluated. Had he developed that concept in an article for publication in a business journal, it may well have attracted much more favorable responses than has his book. What's the problem? Actually, I think there are two. First, in terms of innovative thinking, Kao's Jamming suffers significantly in contrast with other books written by authors such as James L. Adams, Guy Claxton, Edward de Bono, Doug Hall, Lynne Levesque, Michael Michalko, Roger Von Oech, Michael Ray and Rochelle Myers, Joey Reiman, and Stephen Shapiro. Also, it is unclear (at least to me) how anyone can proceed from various general ideas in Jamming to specific applications of them in the business world. For example, "Success depends on your ability to infuse, imbue, and instill a respect for and belief in the power of creativity throughout your organization." O.K. but how? "The first step in making your company a happening place [sic] is to kick out the crutches that support a creativity-deadening culture." O.K. but how? Eliminate reliance on "obfuscating paper....Throw away the sheet music. Start creative conversations.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was searching for some insightful material to help me re-define that somewhat false dichotomy that exists in our thinking about business thinking and (vs.) creativity. I just read Clayton Christianson's "The Innovator's Dilema" and wanted to find a way to develop creativity in my company's culture. After reading "Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity", I see that I have wasted my time & money on this book. If you are like minded in your search, look somewhere else! I rate the book two stars simply because the author has discovered a very worthwhile subject - not for its content.
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Format: Hardcover
Heard the taped version of JAMMING, written and read by John
Kao . . . the author works with companies around the world to help them move ahead of their obsolete competitors.
He uses the metaphor of jazz to show how managers must
master the skills of creativity--like jazz musicians in a jam session (playing off each other to create new sounds, at once unpredictable and harmonious) to reap unprecedented returns.
I once had the pleasure of seeing Kao present in person . . . for some reason, he was better then . . . these tapes were somewhat interesting, but they seemed to contain too many lists . . . I would have liked to have seen some more real examples, particularly based on companies that he had assisted.
However, he did use one example that I really liked . . . in talking about Steven Spielberg, he mentioned how Harrsion Ford had once approached him with an idea when filming INDIANA JONES
AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM . . . Spielberg was not crazy about
what he had heard, but rather than reject it outright, he said: "I like that a lot. But let's just explore one other option."
This technique, according to Kao, provides an opportunity to
double and even redouble ideas. The key: Don't automatically
judge, evaluate or criticize everything you hear.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
John Kao's jazz metaphor for business creativity is attractive. He offers valuable thoughts on stimulating creativity. However, listening to his book on cassette, I often found myself wishing he had had a stricter editor. There were many long strings of similar descriptive words giving the impression that the author did not trust himself to be able to convey his thoughts with one word. Many of the points were made by declaration. This book is a worthwhile read, but requires some patience.
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Format: Paperback
Dr. Kao plays with the concept of jamming, brainstorming, creative thought in the business context--and I find it to this day to be remarkably useful. Best when paired with structured innovation practices, such as techniques taught in the Fifth Discipline. People seem disappointed that this book doesn't provide step-by-step instructions but it's not an instructional manual, rather a treatise on bringing right-brain thinking systemically into the management conversation.
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