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April 1, 2016

The 100 Best Business Books of All Time: INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:30 PM – Filed under: Innovation & Creativity, Personal Development & Human Behavior

Innovation and creativity is about more that painting pictures. And leaving imagination to those in the art department helps no one. Though playwrights and composers have been innovating for several centuries longer that us suits, we would be wise to take some cues. Our picks focus on the inspiration and the process of developing new ideas.

Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie

Creativity is crucial to business success. But too often, even the most innovative organization quickly becomes a "giant hairball"—a tangled, impenetrable mass of rules, traditions, and systems, all based on what worked in the past—that exercises an inexorable pull into mediocrity. Gordon McKenzie worked at Hallmark Cards for thirty years, many of which he spent inspiring his colleagues to slip the bonds of Corporate Normalcy and rise to orbit—to a mode of dreaming, daring, and doing above and beyond the rubber-stamp confines of the administrative mind-set. In his deeply funny book, exuberantly illustrated in full color, he shares the story of his own professional evolution, together with lessons on awakening and fostering creative genius.

The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from Ideo, America's Leading Design Firm by Tom Kelley, with Jonathan Littman

There isn't a business in America that doesn't want to be more creative in its thinking, products, and processes. At many companies, being first with a concept and first to market are critical just to survive. In The Art of Innovation, Tom Kelley, general manager of the Silicon Valley based design firm IDEO, takes readers behind the scenes of this wildly imaginative and energized company to reveal the strategies and secrets it uses to turn out hit after hit.

IDEO doesn't buy into the myth of the lone genius working away in isolation, waiting for great ideas to strike. Kelley believes everyone can be creative, and the goal at his firm is to tap into that wellspring of creativity in order to make innovation a way of life. How does it do that? IDEO fosters an atmosphere conducive to freely expressing ideas, breaking the rules, and freeing people to design their own work environments. IDEO's focus on teamwork generates countless breakthroughs, fueled by the constant give-and-take among people ready to share ideas and reap the benefits of the group process. IDEO has created an intense, quick-turnaround, brainstorm-and-build process dubbed "the Deep Dive." In entertaining anecdotes, Kelley illustrates some of his firm's own successes (and joyful failures), as well as pioneering efforts at other leading companies. The book reveals how teams research and immerse themselves in every possible aspect of a new product or service, examining it from the perspective of clients, consumers, and other critical audiences.

Jump Start Your Business Brain: Scientific Ideas and Advice That Will Immediately Double Your Business Success Rate by Doug Hall

Jump Start Your Business Brain details data-proven methods that can make your sales, marketing, and business development measurably more effective. What makes this book unique is that the methods detailed are backed up with hard data. They're grounded in statistical analysis of the success and failures of more than 4,000 new products and services, and more than 6,000 innovation teams. The research quantifies the impact of a back-to-basic, customer-focused approach to sales, marketing, and business development. The research also uncovers news regarding how you can measurably increase effectiveness in today's super competitive, time compressed, and overstressed marketplace.

A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative by Roger Von Oech

Over the years, A Whack on the Side of the Head has been praised by business people, educators, scientists, homemakers, artists, youth leaders, and many more. The book has stimulated creativity in millions of readers, been translated into eleven languages, and used in seminars around the world.

Fully illustrated and easy to follow, you'll learn how to:

  • Overcome the ten biggest mental blocks—and unleash the full potential of your mind
  • Use the four roles of the creative process—explorer, artist, judge, and warrior—to generate and implement new ideas
  • Exploit the power of play and "playing the fool" as ways of finding the "second right answer"
  • Treat mistakes as stepping-stones on the path to success

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp

All it takes to make creativity a part of your life is the willingness to make it a habit. It is the product of preparation and effort, and is within reach of everyone. Whether you are a painter, musician, businessperson, or simply an individual yearning to put your creativity to use, The Creative Habit provides you with thirty-two practical exercises based on the lessons Twyla Tharp has learned in her remarkable thirty-five-year career. In "Where's Your Pencil?" Tharp reminds you to observe the world—and get it down on paper. In "Coins and Chaos," she gives you an easy way to restore order and peace. In "Do a Verb," she turns your mind and body into coworkers. In "Build a Bridge to the Next Day," she shows you how to clean the clutter from your mind overnight.

Tharp leads you through the painful first steps of scratching for ideas, finding the spine of your work, and getting out of ruts and into productive grooves. The wide-open realm of possibilities can be energizing, and Twyla Tharp explains how to take a deep breath and begin…

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander

Presenting twelve breakthrough practices for bringing creativity into all human endeavors, The Art of Possibility is the dynamic product of an extraordinary partnership. The Art of Possibility combines Benjamin Zander's experience as conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and his talent as a teacher and communicator with psychotherapist Rosamund Stone Zander's genius for designing innovative paradigms for personal and professional fulfillment. The authors' harmoniously interwoven perspectives provide a deep sense of the powerful role that the notion of possibility can play in every aspect of life. Through uplifting stories, parables, and personal anecdotes, the Zanders invite us to become passionate communicators, leaders, and performers whose lives radiate possibility into the world.