Creative People Must Be Stopped: 6 Ways We Kill Innovation (Without Even Trying)

David A Owens

This is the book of the Vanderbilt University MBA course on Leading Innovation in Organisations that I just finished with Coursera. Can't recommend it enough. 

These are some further resoucesIndividual Innovation Constraints

(Chapter 2)

Steve Jobs Isaacson, Walter The Visual Display of Quantitative Information Tufte, Edward Conceptual Blockbusting: A Guide to Better Ideas Adams, James L. The Design of Everyday Things Norman, Donald Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences Gardner, Howard E.

Group Innovation Constraints

(Chapter 3)

Weird Ideas That Work: How to Build a Creative Company Sutton, Robert I. The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm Kelley, Tom Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best… and Learn from the Worst Sutton, Robert I. The Social Life of Information Brown, John Seely & P. Duguid The Deep Dive at IDEO Nightline Video (ABC News)

Organizational Innovation Constraints

(Chapter 4)

Serious Play: How the World’s Best Companies Simulate to Innovate Schrage, Michael The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage Martin, Roger The Soul of A New Machine Kidder, Tracy Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, then Ignored, the First Personal Computer Smith, Douglas K. & R. Alexander Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration Bennis, Warren, & W. Biederman The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization Senge, Peter M.

Industry Innovation Constraints

(Chapter 5)

The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business Christensen, Clayton M. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Kuhn, Thomas S. Managing The Professional Service Firm Maister, David Crossing the Chasm Moore, Geoffrey Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age Knopper, Steve Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors Porter, Michael E.

Societal Innovation Constraints

(Chapter 6)

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Chip & Dan Heath The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labor Abbott, Andrew How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition Bornstein, David The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World Schwartz, Peter Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things McDonough and Braungart Diffusion of Innovations, 5th Edition Rogers, Everett

Technological Innovation Constraints

(Chapter 7)

Innovation Tournaments: Creating and Selecting Exceptional Opportunities Terwiesch, C. & K. Ulrich Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation Burgelman, Christensen, & Wheelwright How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth About How Companies Innovate Hargadon, Andrew Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating And Profiting from Technology Chesbrough, Henry W. Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature Benyus, Janine M.

AuthorJane Martin
Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner offers 2000 free videos and podcasts, featuring entrepreneurship and innovation thought leaders. There are some good ones on creativity and innovation from Tina Seelig and from Tom Kelley.


AuthorJane Martin

This is a wonderful free download that I'm so glad to have discovered after prattling on about the importance of language for years,  and Andrea Cornwall's a fantastic writer. I recommend you read it before using the words 'participation' or 'empowerment'.

Authors Cornwall, Andrea Eade, Deborah Publication date 01 Nov 2010 ISBN 9781853397066 Publisher Oxfam GB Practical Action Publishing Series Development in Practice Readers Type Book

Writing from diverse locations, contributors critically examine some of the key terms in current development discourse. Why should language matter to those who are doing development? Surely, there are more urgent things to do than sit around mulling over semantics? But language does matter. Whether emptied of their original meaning, essentially vacuous, or hotly contested, the language of development not only shapes our imagined worlds, but also justifies interventions in real people's lives. If development buzzwords conceal ideological differences or sloppy thinking, then the process of constructive deconstruction makes it possible to re-examine what have become catch-all terms like civil society and poverty reduction, or bland aid-agency terms such as partnership or empowerment. Such engagement is far more than a matter of playing word games. The reflections included here raise major questions about how we think about development itself. The 30 contributors to this volume include Cassandra Balchin, Srilatha Batliwala, Robert Chambers, Neera Chandhoke, Ben Fine, Shalmali Guttal, Pablo Alejandro Leal, Islah Jad, Thandika Mkandawire, John Samuel, John Toye, and Peter Uvin. Originally published as a special double issue of Development in Practice journal, the book is vital reading for all concerned with a deeper understanding international development policy and practice.


AuthorJane Martin

As part of the innovation course I'm doing we (each team member)  had to come up with 101 ideas about how NGOs could be more innovative (our chosen project). It was also to illustrate how you get more individual ideas by brainstrorming individually than in a group, but that's another story.

So here are the 101 ideas, no censoring, as they came. See how many you can do in a week. Enjoy. 

1)   Have a drawing class each week

2)   Do yoga every morning

3)   Do meditation every day

4)   Move the desks around

5)   Work outdoors in the summer

6)   Work on the roof

7)   Take any cubicles away

8)   Have a library of fun things

9)   Have toys on everybody’s desk

10)  Have posters from every country in the world around the walls

11)  Have everyone make a lampshade

12)  Have everyone paint a mug with an inspirational phase from their culture

13)  Find out what creative things people like to do

14)  Do a forum theatre workshop and find out what staff are afraid of

15)  Do improvisation exercises at the beginning of the day

16)  Have a suggestions box where people draw their feelings and others interpret them

17)  Have a fund where people can buy stimulating books for the library

18)  Hire a creativity and development consultant (!) to do some work with you.

19)  Make digital stories about key issues

20)  Work with cell-phones on

21)  Flip the hierarchy in your work space

22)  Make the janitor the chief exec for a day and see what ideas s/he comes up with

23)   Have a chillout area with beanbags

24)  Or hammocks

25)  Or bamboo mats

26)  Take the computers off people’s desks.

27)  Turn off the internal phone system so people have to talk to each other

28)  Have two weeks a year where everyone is in the office (no travel allowed for anyone)

29)  Put walls of plants around a few key areas where people can sit quietly.

30)  Put people on the move

31)  Get people to submit a list of ten ideas they had each time they come back from a trip to the field

32)  Encourage creativity and innovation with beneficiaries

33)  Do an innovation audit

34)  Read Tim Brown’s book – Change by Design

35)  Read Augusto Boal and Paulo Freire

36)   Use a fishing rod to pass things from person to person

37)  Play

38)  Make sure everyone has nothing on their desk by the end of Friday

39)  Only work with laptops

40)  Use paper and pencil for first ideas, not computers

41)  Buy a pack of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategy cards

42)  Use them as a screensaver

43)  Have a day where everyone says yes to everything

44)  Learn about each other’s cultures

45)  Have a day a month where one culture is dominant

46)  In meetings have a cultural adviser who tells you what would or would not be acceptable in their culture.

47)  Acknowledge that in some cultures it’s not acceptable to criticise.

48)  Find a way to work through to this.

49)  Play the game with the translator and the professor. They each speak jibberish language but translator translates for the audience.

50)  Make soundscapes

51)  Make music

52)  Learn children’s games from different cultures

53)   Make different languages dominant at different times

54)  Work in a matrix

55)  Take all notices using clip art down and have them drawn by hand.

56)  Ban all project names longer than three words

57)  Go and see an art exhibition once a month

58)  Ask a gallery to arrange a tour and be taken around

59)  Hire a curator to facilitate a tour of a gallery with questions that will provoke thoughts about work issues

60)  Learn animation programs that start from photos and make stories about your organisation.

61)  Ask people how they think this could be done

62)  Agree to prototype one idea from each staff member over a month, no matter how crazy it sounds.

63)  Have lunch at the same time.

64)  Play a game before lunch.

65)  Relax and sleep after lunch.

66)  Nap when tired.

67)  Hire a masseur.

68)   Change the chairs of meetings each meeting.

69)  Have stand up meetings.

70)  Ban meetings for a week.

71)  Have everyone work outside the office for a week.

72)  Send everyone away for an hour to walk and come up with ideas when beginning a new project

73)  Do photo walks

74)  Do a transect walk of your own office

75)  Burn essential oils to make the office smell different

76)  Have staff bring in something that smells stimulating

77)  Something that smells relaxing

78)  A picture that inspires them

79)  Swap them around

80)  Divide the office up in different ways

81)  Divide it by continent

82)  Divide it by function

83)  Divide it by day of the week people were born

84)  Make a comic

85)  Make a collage

86)  Make a song

87)  Make a dance

88)  Invert things.

89)  Have the senior management people create a funny 5 minute play about why innovation is needed.

90)  Have more junior staff respond to it.

91)  Have the most junior staff respond to both of them

92)  Do video postcards with your beneficiaries.

93)   Mime.

94)  Play charades

95)  Put Jenny Holzer’s Truisms up on the wall

96)  Make your own truisms

97)  Discuss

98)  Give people a contemporary art gallery allowance – money and time to go

99)  Have them report back how what they saw relates to a problem they’re trying to solve at work.

100) Introduce innovation ideas with a shrunken work week – if you’re convinced it’ll enable people to come up with ideas faster they should be able to work fewer hours to get things done.

101)  Play the game where you thrown a plastic bottle around the room and immediately on catching it the person has to mime using it as something other than a bottle.

102)   Work your way through “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” or “The Artists Way” as a group .

103)                Ban the use of your top three buzzwords.


AuthorJane Martin