This is a very good book. In it Jerry Hirshberg shares his experiences as founder and president of Nissan Design International. In so doing he characterizes the leadership, organization, and group dynamics that foster breakthrough innovation. Here is a sampling of the kind of thinking he unpacks...
* Bureaucratic "structure" with its need for predictability, linear logic, conformance to accepted norms, and the dictates of the most recent "long range" vision statement, is a nearly perfect idea killing machine.
* The atmosphere that follows out of the creative priority, while challenging and stimulating, also becomes supportive and humane, since a workplace safe for ideas is a workplace safe for people.
* Creative expression is a bipolar event; it requires both a sender and a receiver.
* There is a vital connection between abrasiveness and original thinking.
* Creativity and destructiveness are at the same time polar opposites and closely related cousins.
* The very idea of a "balanced person" as some kind of ideal is somehow troubling.
* New truths are often in plain sight, but are rendered invisible or menacing by an associated language, or a stubborn set of assumptions.
* Nothing can so effectively move work forward at times as not working.
* Work tends to be a convergent activity, focusing on the task at hand. Play is a divergent activity. It opens out and is not easy to contain.
* Creative people can't be boxed up in an ivory tower. They need direct contact with real world information to develop new ideas.
* In the quest for creative thinking, research should never be left to someone else, as nothing stimulates the imagination as the impact of direct experience.
* Imaginative thinking cannot be constrained by preconception or prior intentions. Creativity does not play by the rules; it plays with the rules.
I would recommend this book for both leaders and members of creative groups as well those with whom they interact.