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CREATIVE LEAPS - Journal of the Arts in Leadership and Organizational Learning

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Insights and Inspirations

Recommended reading from John Cimino, Creative Leaps International President and CEO


Positive Turbulence

by Stanley S. Gryskiewicz

The Medici Effect

by Frans Johansson

The Story Factor

by Annette Simmons

The Ingenuity Gap

by Thomas Homer Dixon

The Everyday Work of Art

by Eric Booth


POSITIVE TURBULENCE, Stanley S. Gryskiewicz, Developing Climates for Creativity, Innovation and Renewal, Center for Creative Leadership & Jossey-Bass, 1999.   “Positive turbulence”: a disturbance of the status quo which results in new thinking, new perspectives and learning.  Gryskiewicz describes a proactive process for bringing new ideas into organizations.  Among his strongest recommendations: the arts, innovative experiences of the arts which can shift our perspectives, move us emotionally, and bring to the surface our tacit assumptions.  Positive Turbulence is thoughtful, telling research, rich in corporate storytelling and brave, sensible thinking – definitely a classic for 21st century innovators.


THE MEDICI EFFECT, Frans Johansson, Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts & Cultures, Harvard Business School Press, 2004.  The concept of the “intersection” is a new take interdisciplinary thinking: bring science and art or art and business into the same idea space and the associative possibilities and value propositions multiply like rabbits.  If we would be innovative, ideational and cultural intersections are the place to be.  “In every arena, whether in the sciences or the humanities, business or politics, there is a growing need to combine concepts from disparate fields.”   Johansson chronicles many such innovations and clarifies the special challenges which await us there.  Recommended highly for its aerial view.


THE STORY FACTOR, Annette Simmons, Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion Through the Arts of Storytelling, Perseus Publishing, 2001   We are all storytellers, but only those of us who do it well can empower, uplift and effectively change the lives of our companies, organizations and communities.  This is the quintessential art form, the oldest tool of influence and the most powerful.  Simmons’ book is well researched and Simmons is herself a master storyteller.  She showcases dozens of examples from the frontlines of business and government as well as myths, fables and parables around the world, showing how stories can be used to persuade, motivate and inspire in ways that cold facts, bullet points and directives can’t.


THE INGENUITY GAP, Thomas Homer-Dixon, Facing the Economic, Environmental, and Other Challenges of an Increasingly Complex and Unpredictable World, Vantage Books, 2000.  This is a closely reasoned book of immense power and breadth, exactingly researched and engagingly written.  The “ingenuity gap” – the space between problems that arise and our ability to solve them – is growing today at an alarming rate. “As ingenuity gaps widen the gulfs of wealth and power among us, we need imagination, metaphor and empathy more than ever, to help us remember each other’s essential humanity.”  This is a clarion call for social as well as intellectual creativity, for thinking which opens our hearts as well as our eyes.  Highly recommended.


THE EVERYDAY WORK OF ART, Eric Booth, How Artistic Experience Can Transform Your Life.  Sourcebooks, Inc. 1997.  For my money, Eric Booth is simply the most insightful and accessible spokesperson for the arts in America today and this book is Eric Booth at his best.  The work of art is not for artists alone, it is something we all do as we craft our ideas and give shape and meaning to all aspects of our lives – to our business decisions, families, playtime, even our spirituality.  Eric breaks down the process of art so we can identify with it and grasp it clearly as our own.  He also shows how to apply it practically to sharpen our intuition, acquire new perspectives, and reintroduce a sense of wonder into our daily lives.  This book is of timeless value, never more needed than today.


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