Inside the Box

The practice of systematic creativity

The Six Best Books on Creativity and Innovation

These are the classics that teach "how" rather than "why."

Creativity is what you do in your head to generate an idea, while innovation is the process of putting it into practice. You need both to succeed, which may be why the number of new books on these topics seems to grow every year. Yet despite the popularity of this category and the steady stream of new books, I continue to go back to the classics, those books that actually taught me how to do it versus those books that just talked about it. Caution – these are not “light reads,” but they’re the ones I’ve learned the most from.

1. The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler

All creative activities have a basic pattern in common. Koestler describes this pattern in amazing detail across many disciplines. Knowing this pattern will help you generate better ideas.

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

2. Creativity in Product Innovation by Jacob Goldenberg and David Mazursky

Inspired by Genrich Altshuller, Goldenberg and Mazursky struck gold when they discovered creativity templates that regulate one’s thinking and channel the ideation process. From these emerged a bona fide method to innovate…on demand.

3. Creative Cognition: Theory, Research, and Applications by Ronald A. Finke, Thomas B. Ward, and Steven M. Smith

This is the best work from the field of cognitive psychology. It explains why creativity happens exactly backwards from what you think. The authors share their research and experiments to back up their surprising claims.

4. The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms by Margaret A. Boden

This one reminds me of Koestler’s classic, but it goes further to debunk many of the myths and wrong-headed notions about creativity and innovation. Boden also makes a case for automating the creative act.

5. Mastering the Dynamics of Innovation by James M. Utterback

This masterpiece is the inspiration for the highly-popular notion of disruptive innovation. A professor at MIT, Utterback lays out how innovation transforms industries, for better or for worse. It will change how you approach innovation.

6. Think!: Before It's Too Late by Edward de Bono

de Bono may be the most recognized name in creativity. Of his twenty seven books, this is my favorite. Think of it as “The Best of Ed.” It’s pithy and wise, and I quote from it constantly. At age 80+, this may be de Bono’s last.

 

Drew Boyd is co-author or Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results.

 

Copyright 2013 Drew Boyd

 

Drew Boyd is a professor of marketing and innovation at the University of Cincinnati.

more...

Subscribe to Inside the Box

Current Issue

Love & Lust

Who says marriage is where desire goes to die?