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The Myths of Creativity

The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas

By David Burkus
12-minute read
Audio available
The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas by David Burkus

The Myths of Creativity debunks our common misconceptions of how creativity works. It provides practical insight and valuable advice on how to generate new ideas and let them flourish, and it gives real-world examples from history and recent well-known creatives.

  • Anyone who would like to increase his or her creativity
  • Anyone running a business or organization

David Burkus is assistant professor of management at the College of Business at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He specializes in the fields of creativity and innovation as well as in entrepreneurship and organizational behavior. He has written for Fast Company and Bloomberg Businessweek and given keynotes for Microsoft and Stryker.

 

© David Burkus: The Myths of Creativity copyright 2013, John Wiley & Sons Inc.  Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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The Myths of Creativity

The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas

By David Burkus
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas by David Burkus
Synopsis

The Myths of Creativity debunks our common misconceptions of how creativity works. It provides practical insight and valuable advice on how to generate new ideas and let them flourish, and it gives real-world examples from history and recent well-known creatives.

Key idea 1 of 7

In order to reach our creative potential, we need to change our perception of creativity.

We’re all familiar with how Isaac Newton discovered gravity. One day, whilst sitting under a tree, an apple fell on him, which sparked his realization of the phenomenon.

Yet, this tale is a great example of a common myth that creativity comes from out-of-the-blue divine inspiration. Although most of us accept this myth, it’s wrong. Creativity doesn’t just fall to us from thin air.

For example, Newton’s discovery of gravity isn’t exactly accurate. He, in fact, observed the apple fall whilst he was with someone else, which sparked a scientific discussion between them.

Their discussion involved reviewing what they already understood in terms of the phenomenon of gravity. Therefore, rather than Newton being the sole receiver of a sudden revelation; the idea surfaced from the interaction between two intelligent minds. It was only after years of intensive research that Newton could then finally put forward his mathematical formula on gravity.

So even though we love stories of lightning-bolt revelations, we can see that creativity often requires time and effort.

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi actually found that insight is only a central step out of a number of steps that successful creatives move through before their idea has come to fruition.

Ideas can only emerge after a foundation has been prepared and left to germinate for a while.

In order to get the best out of the process, many highly creative people such as da Vinci and Edison had a number of projects on the go simultaneously. This allowed all their ideas to have the necessary amount of time to develop whilst their creators worked on others.

However, as we will see, creativity is not just limited to these famous ‘geniuses.’

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