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The Myths of Creativity


There is a mythology around creativity - a hazy system of beliefs developed to try to understand what many believe to be incomprehensible. Because of this mythology, many businesspeople view creativity and innovation as vague and inaccessible, assuming that creativity happens through a largely transcendent process of inspiration to which only a select few are granted access. Fortunately for all of us who need to be more creative or lead our organizations through a creativity process, this is simply not the case, and "The Myths of Creativity" shows how anyone can drop the faulty conventional wisdom of creativity, understand the actual research behind how the creative process works, and ultimately generate impressive creative results.

Each chapter of "The Myths of Creativity" debunks one erroneous assumption about the creative process: Chapter 1: The Sacred Myth Creativity is not a distant inspiration given to a select few, but comes from withinChapter 2: The Breed Myth: Creativity is not a trait that only certain individuals hold and pass alongChapter 3: The Eureka Myth Creative insight is not the sudden spark romanticized by stories of Newton's Apple or Archimedes' bathtub, but involves a slow hunchChapter 4: The Originality Myth Most creative ideas are not unique or original, but are usually new combinations of older ideas.Chapter 5: The Expert Myth: Highly trained experts in a particular domain are sometimes incapable of generating creative insight. Instead, outsiders can provide the fresh perspective needed to creatively solve complex problems. Chapter 6: The Incentive Myth: Traditional incentives like bonuses, awards or other "carrots" provide little influence on creativityChapter 7: The Lone Creator Myth: Most innovation is the product of a group of individuals and not any one person.Chapter 8: The Brainstorming Myth: Creativity requires more than merely the rapid generation of ideas.Chapter 9: The Cohesive Myth: Cohesive cultures and "feel good" environments can hinder innovation. Chapter 10: The Constraints Myth While the traditional view of creativity is "out-of-the-box" or "no limits," constraints can actually help enhance creativity in individuals and teams.Chapter 11: The Mousetrap Myth: Creative ideas and innovations don't experience immediate celebration like the proverbial "better mousetrap." Instead, they often experience backlash as a first reaction. Chapter 12: The Moral Myth Enhancing creativity is not always good.

The chapters are filled with fresh case studies from Burkus's dissertation research.

"The Myths of Creativity" is essential reading for anyone who feels like creativity is a struggle. It demystifies the creative process, debunks myths that may be holding back your creative juices, and ultimately will result in more and better ideas for you and your team.

Product Details

Table of Contents

1 The Creative Mythology 1 2 The Eureka Myth 17 3 The Breed Myth 33 4 The Originality Myth 49 5 The Expert Myth 67 6 The Incentive Myth 87 7 The Lone Creator Myth 105 8 The Brainstorming Myth 125 9 The Cohesive Myth 141 10 The Constraints Myth 159 11 The Mousetrap Myth 177 Notes 195 Acknowledgments 203 About the Author 205 Index 207

About the Author

David Burkus is the founder and editor of LDRLB , an online publication that shares insights from research on leadership, innovation, and strategy. He is assistant professor of management at Oral Roberts University and also a regular columnist for 99U and The Creativity Post . He lives outside Tulsa, Oklahoma, with his wife and son. For more information, please visit or on Twitter via @davidburkus.


"This is an engaging book that makes its case in good, clear language" (The Financial Times, October 2013.)

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