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Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration

Book Description

Creativity has long been thought to be an individual gift, best pursued alone; schools, organizations, and whole industries are built on this idea. But what if the most common beliefs about how creativity works are wrong? In this authoritative and fascinating new book, Keith Sawyer, a psychologist at Washington University, tears down some of the most popular myths about creativity and erects new principles in their place. He reveals that creativity is always collaborative-even when you’re alone. (That “eureka” moment in the bathtub couldn’t have come to Archimedes if he hadn’t spent so many hours arguing and comparing notes with his fellow mathematicians and philosophers.) Sawyer draws on compelling stories of inventions and innovations: the inventors of the ATM, the mountain bike, and open source operating systems, among others, to demonstrate the freewheeling ways of true innovation. He shares the results of his own acclaimed research on jazz groups, theater ensembles, and conversation analysis, to show us how to be more creative in collaborative group settings, how to change organizational dynamics for the better, and how to tap into our own reserves of creativity.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Introduction: Beyond The Lone Genius
  5. Part I: The Collaborative Team
    1. Chapter 1: The Power of Collaboration
      1. Invisible Collaboration
      2. Jazz Freddy
      3. Inside the Black Box
      4. Elixir
    2. Chapter 2: Improvising Innovation
      1. Script-Think
      2. Taking a Fix
      3. Planning for Improvisation
      4. Playing Without a Conductor
    3. Chapter 3: Group Flow
      1. Peak Experience
      2. The Ten Conditions for Group Flow
      3. Live from New York
    4. Chapter 4: From Groupthink to Group Genius
      1. The Perils of Design by Committee
      2. Fixing Brainstorming
      3. Groupthink
      4. From Additive to Improvised Collaboration
      5. Collaboration and Complexity
      6. Why Diversity Works
      7. Rewarding Group Genius
  6. Part II: The Collaborative Mind
    1. Chapter 5: Small Sparks
      1. The First Cash Machine
      2. Bottema’s Mirrors
      3. Thinking Outside the Box
      4. Confabulation
      5. How Insights Emerge
    2. Chapter 6: Collaboration over Time
      1. The Origin of Species
      2. Learning from Failure
      3. Historiometry
      4. Connecting the Sparks
      5. The Power of Visual Imagery
    3. Chapter 7: Conversation and the Mind
      1. The Horse’s Ass
      2. Integrative Collaboration
      3. Conversational Insight
      4. Indexicality
      5. Equivocality
  7. Part III: The Collaborative Organization
    1. Chapter 8: Organizing for Improvisation
      1. Innovation Labs
      2. Beyond Linear Innovation
      3. The Ten Secrets of the Collaborative Organization
    2. Chapter 9: The Collaborative Web
      1. The Miracle at the 1939 World’s Fair
      2. Clusters
      3. The Web Always Wins
      4. The Five Key Features of Collaborative Webs
      5. Ray Tomlinson’s Hack
      6. The Power of Q
      7. Open Innovation
    3. Chapter 10: Collaborating with Customers
      1. Extreme Innovation
      2. Idea Marketplaces
    4. Chapter 11: Creating the Collaborative Economy
  8. Acknowledgments
  9. Notes
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10
    11. Chapter 11
  10. About the Author