Book can help you come up with truly creative ideas

Jerry McLaughlin is a seasoned entrepreneur who enjoys reading. Some of the books he reads turn out to be useful to business leaders. This month, Jerry writes about “Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius” by Michael Michalko, published by Ten Speed Press.

What is this book about?
This book provides a framework and techniques for improving your creativity, with many examples from business. The essential idea is to understand the nature of creativity and to then use any of the many simple techniques described in the book to generate your own truly creative ideas.

Why you care about this book
Business and careers are very competitive. Success in both increasingly depends on generating creative alternatives to solve problems and identify new opportunities. Many popular books, such as “Blue Ocean Strategy,” get us excited about the power and potential of creativity in business without making us more creative, but this book is the “how to” of generating those creative ideas.

“Cracking Creativity” offers a useful way to think about, and techniques for being better at, both framing problems and opportunities in the most useful way and on the techniques that will allow you to produce more ideas and more creative ideas in response to any problem or opportunity.

This book in 100 words
This is a practical book on “how to” generate more numerous and more creative ideas — both solutions to problems and the discovery of new opportunities.

The essential idea is that creativity depends on a proper understanding of the problem or opportunity, that making new combinations of existing ideas or elements is the only way to a creative solution, and that we cannot make truly new combinations unless we use deliberate techniques to get us out of our own mental ruts. The author explains how the giants of creativity worked, including Leonardo Da Vinci, to demonstrate the usefulness of the techniques he teaches.

Key learnings
  Creative ideas are those that combine existing ideas and elements in new ways.
  We cannot combine existing ideas and elements in new ways unless we use deliberate techniques to do it — otherwise our minds combine the existing ideas and elements in the ways they always have.
  Before using any of the dozens of creative combining techniques described in the book, it is useful to think about the problem or opportunity from a number of angles. Techniques for doing this are provide in the first part of the book.
  The way to get a terrific idea is to generate lots of creative ideas and throw away the bad ones.

Jerry McLaughlin is founder and CEO at Blow Birthday Cards