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When Sparks Fly: Igniting Creativity in Groups Hardcover – August 30, 1999
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Leonard and Swap bolster their ideas with real-life examples of corporate creativity and analysis of dozens of psychological studies about human innovation. The Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), for instance, generates breakthrough ideas by teaming up such diverse people as artists, anthropologists, and computer scientists. And to support diversity's role in creativity, they cite a 1992 study of 199 bank CEOs. The research found that top management teams are more innovative if they include people with varying expertise. Each of the book's chapters begins with a fictional management scenario and concludes with a summary of key points. It also includes chapters on designing the best physical and psychological environments for igniting new ideas. When Sparks Fly is a good tool for managers and others interested in fanning the flames of creativity. --Dan Ring
"The insights in this lively book could turbo-charge your team (and maybe even your career)." -- Fortune, September 27, 1999
"Will ignite sparks for management teams looking to light the creative fire." -- ForeWord, September 1999
Top Customer Reviews
What Is Group Creativity?
Generating Creative Options
Converging on the Best Options
Designing the Physical Environment
Designing the Psychological Environment
These chapters are followed by several pages of Notes and a superb Bibliography. Their concluding thoughts reiterate that "creativity is a process -- and can be encouraged and influenced....Thinking of creativity as a process removes, we hope, some of the mystery -- and the temptation to step back from the challenge....Creativity, like learning, is not only a process but an attitude. An attitude that promotes creativity is a kind of alertness to innovation opportunities -- a constant mental challenge to routine and openness to change....Read more ›
According to the authors, group creativity requires thoughtful preparation, cultivation of different options, time to reflect and careful culling of the "right" ideas. Each step in the process will either energize the team to work harder or become part of a demoralizing and fractious process. As Leonard and Swap write, "Two (or more) heads are better than one, however, only if (1) there is useful knowledge inside the heads; (2) all that useful knowledge can be accessed; and (3) all that accesssed, useful knowledge can be shared, processed, and synthesized by the group."
While reading the first section, I "borrowed" a legal pad from my spouse to pilfer the numerous creative ideas suggested. By the time I was done, I had filled the entire pad and was writing on the cardboard back, with designs for programs to reward creativity and groundrules for initiating appropriate creative sessions. Just about everything is covered -- from why preppy Tommy Hilfiger can design for urban youth to how Weyerhaeuser created new, cost effective particleboard.Read more ›
I found it a bit self-serving to have testimonials from other Harvard Business School faculty on the back cover of the book. Could these persons really offer an impartial assessment of a book written by a colleague they see almost every day?
The book begins by challenging the typical myths associated with creativity, and subsequently proving them to be incorrect. The authors assert that by using certain motivational and managerial techniques, greater overall creativity can be achieved, even by those who would not typically be referred to as the "creative" type.
The chapters cover all of the basics of group formation and management, beginning with basic creative group problems, addressing techniques with which to harness creativity and keep it focused in the right direction, and leaving the reader with the knowledge and motivation to foster the proper environment for the foundation and formation of a creative group. This is achieved through a five-step process defined by the authors as: 1) preparation, 2) innovation opportunity, 3) generation of options, 4) incubation, 5) the convergence on one option. These steps are intuitively arranged and thoroughly explained throughout the course of the book.
Overall, this book seeks to leave you with the idea that creativity, while an inherit ability to some, can also be thought of as a process.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When Spark Fly is an exciting walk through the creative process. It is full of actionable guidance for companies looking to spark their creative engine.Published on April 20, 2013 by James O. Donnelly
THis book shows how the true creativity (the one for everyday work) arises and how managers should do in their corps to leverage this invaluable asset.Published on November 30, 2001 by Jose M. Vicente
This is a successor to Dorothy Leonard(-Barton)'s excellent Wellsprings of Knowledge, and expands the treatment of knowledge generation or creativity that forms one of the... Read morePublished on June 8, 2000 by Bill Godfrey