Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration

by Keith Sawyer
From the book jacket:
Creativity has long been thought to be an individual gift, best pursued alone; schools, organizations, and whole industries are built on this idea. But what if the most common beliefs about creativity are wrong?

In this authoritative and fascinating new book, Keith Sawyer, a psychologist at Washington University, tears down some of the most popular myths about creativity and erects new principles in their place. He reveals that creativity is always collaborative—even when you're alone. Sawyer's book is filled with compelling stories about the inventions that changed our world: the ATM, the mountain bike, and open source operating systems, among others. In each case, Sawyer shows the true story of innovation: in spite of the "lone genius" myths that always spring up after an invention's success, these important inventions always originate in collaboration.
To understand the hidden collaborations that drive exceptional creativity, Sawyer spent fifteen years studying jazz groups and theater ensembles, small businesses and large corporations. In "Group Genius," he distills the essence of this acclaimed research and shows us how to be more creative in collaborative group settings, how to change our organizations for the better, and how to tap into our own reserves of creativity. The empowering message is that all of us have the potential to be more creative; we just need to learn the secrets of group genius.

And if you're wondering how you do this when you're a one-man or one-woman show, that's what associations are for. Don't belong one? Get together with friends. Sometimes bouncing an idea off others who may or may not understand your business gives you the opportunity to look at it from a whole new perspective and takes you places where you may never have gone on your own.

Keith Sawyer is Associate Professor of Education and of Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of "Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation," has designed video games for Atari, and lectures frequently to both academic and business audiences. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

By Adam

June 10, 2011