Get the key ideas from

Unlocking Creativity

How to Solve Any Problem and Make the Best Decisions by Shifting Creative Mindsets

By Michael Roberto
12-minute read
Audio available
Unlocking Creativity by Michael Roberto

Unlocking Creativity (2019) is a guide to unleashing creativity in the workplace. Starting with the premise that all people are innately creative, it argues that the best way to unlock employee creativity isn’t to hire all-star creatives or restructure your businesses. Instead, the key is to dismantle the workplace mind-sets that are stifling the creativity of the people already in your midst.  

  • Leaders striving to boost employee creativity 
  • Workers wondering how to become more creative
  • Creatives who want to empower their coworkers

Michael Roberto is the Trustee Professor of Management at Bryant University in Rhode Island. He teaches business strategy, managerial decision-making, and leadership, and is the author of multiple books on those subjects, including Why Great Leaders Don’t Take Yes for an Answer

 

© Michael Roberto: Unlocking Creativity copyright 2019, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
4,500+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

Unlocking Creativity

How to Solve Any Problem and Make the Best Decisions by Shifting Creative Mindsets

By Michael Roberto
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Unlocking Creativity by Michael Roberto
Synopsis

Unlocking Creativity (2019) is a guide to unleashing creativity in the workplace. Starting with the premise that all people are innately creative, it argues that the best way to unlock employee creativity isn’t to hire all-star creatives or restructure your businesses. Instead, the key is to dismantle the workplace mind-sets that are stifling the creativity of the people already in your midst.  

Key idea 1 of 7

Counteract the linear mind-set by incorporating an iterative approach to product creation.

Imagine you’re a team leader. Recently, you’ve been having difficulty with a member of your team, a talented but eccentric guy. He’s got a history of failing to meet deadlines, sometimes simply abandoning assignments altogether. A perfectionist, he also iterates obsessively, tinkering with prototypes rather than delivering.

You like the guy, but it’s just not working out. So you call Leonardo da Vinci into your office and fire him.

If you’re thinking, “Hold on, I’d never fire one of the most brilliant people of all time,” then pause a moment. Yes, history recognizes Leonardo da Vinci as a genius, but the man who painted the Mona Lisa probably wouldn’t fair too well in the current market landscape. He was a chronic procrastinator, extending deadlines for years, and sometimes never meeting them. 

Most of today’s leaders would fire Leonardo for a simple reason: he had an iterative mind-set, and they have a linear mind-set, which is the first creativity-blocking mind-set we’ll explore.

The linear mind-set approaches projects like this: First, you do your research. Then you analyze the data you’ve collected. After that, you make an execution plan based on your analysis. Next you create a budget for the plan. Then, you execute it.

No one can deny the importance of research and analysis, but there’s no way to make a perfect plan prior to embarking on a project. Unforeseen obstacles will rear their ugly heads. Unimagined problems will arise.

That’s why it’s better to adopt a less linear approach to production. First, build a working prototype. Then launch it. After that, evaluate its reception. Then adapt based on that evaluation and build again. And then repeat the process.

Skype’s Director of Design, Peter Skillman, once created a design challenge that made the effectiveness of the iterative approach particularly apparent. Here’s the challenge: using 20 pieces of uncooked spaghetti, a bit of string, some tape, and a marshmallow, make the tallest structure you can. The twist: the marshmallow must sit atop the completed tower.

Business school graduates ended up being among the worst at this challenge. They treated the task linearly, devising a concrete plan and then sticking to it. More often than not, their towers toppled when the marshmallow was placed on top.

Six-year-old children proved to be much better tower builders than the MBA holders. Da Vinci-style, the kids iterated, using the time not to plan, but to experiment.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Learn more, live more

Sign up now to learn and grow every day with the key ideas from top nonfiction and podcasts in 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.