Leadership and creativity are subjects which excite me, sad I know and I am looking to get out more. I’ve written on both of topics extensively but so have others. The last year or so have seen a number of attempts to address the subject. Some of the best offerings are listed below. Perhaps not the ideal poolside reading, nonetheless they will give the mind a workout and tone up the grey matter.
1. Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom and David Kelley
I may be biased, but I think Creative Confidence, penned by my colleagues Tom and David Kelley, is a great primer on how to unlock your innate creativity. It’s the perfect place to start if you’re fearful of taking creative risks or want to understand more about the skills and mindset you need to adopt for creative problem solving.
2. A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger
Journalist and innovation expert, Warren Berger, explores the world of curiosity and explains why simply asking “Why?” can lead to important change. If you’re an aspiring leader—creative or otherwise—it’s time to channel your inner child and start questioning deeply, imaginatively, and persistently in order to uncover novel opportunities.
3. Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation by Linda A. Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove & Kent Lineback
Collective Genius is about building creative cultures and creating a stage for others to perform upon. Authored by Linda Hill of Harvard Business School, former Pixar tech wizard Greg Brandeau, and two other leadership experts, they debunk the myth of the lone creative genius and give valuable tips for releasing the combined creativity of organizations.
4. Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less by Robert I. Sutton & Huggy Rao
Once you’ve asked the right question and found the right idea, there remains what is arguably the most important and most challenging task for creative leaders: taking them to scale. Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao of Stanford University have spent years researching how effective organizations expand their ideas and influence. Many of the impediments they’ve found are cultural, not technical, and the authors outline principles that the best leaders use to scale their successes. If you want your company to have impact, this is a must-have tome for your leadership library.
5. The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition by Don Norman
A reissue of a design classic, Don Norman wrote the original The Design of Everyday Things in 1988 and it had a tremendous impact on my own career as a designer. In the latest version, Norman expands on his thesis about the relationship between products and people and includes new chapters on design thinking and the role of design in business. If you’re leading a product team in the physical or digital worlds, this book contains a treasure trove of important lessons such as when something doesn’t work, it’s usually the product’s fault, not the person using it.
All rights reserved © 2014 Andrew Hutchinson