Book Review: Creativity: Unconventional Wisdom …

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Herb Meyers and Richard Gerstman, Editors. Creativity: Unconventional Wisdom from 20 Accomplished Minds. Palgrave, 2007.

This book contains the individual stories of 20 accomplished people, including entrepreneurs, designers, authors, sculptors and architects who reveal their personal histories, their inspirations and their ideas about creativity. Among the people are profiled are Nandan Nilekani, CEO of Infosys, a company of over 66,000 employees headquartered in Bangalore, India, which pioneered the concept of outsourcing services to corporations worldwide.

Nilekani defined business creativity as the ability to see a pattern of potential opportunity among a number of seemingly unconnected things and visualizing a future that others do not see. For Infosys, those disparate elements included changes in the Indian economy, development of technology that permitted people in India to work for clients in the United States and greater freedom in Indian capital markets.

My personal favorite story was Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer. He described his creativity as coming from two sources, his shyness and his love of computers. As early as high school, he worked hard on computer designs with pencil and paper, making a game of designing them to work with few computer chips. Much of his creativity has stemmed from this desire to simplify things. His main goal in life has been to build things that work and serve useful purposes at affordable prices.

Several product designers are profiled in the book. Among them is Chris Bangle, chief of design at BMW, who feels the creative process of designing a car is similar to an author writing a story or creating a character. In addition, Roland Heiler, head of Porsche Design Studio (Austria), says that taking risks is important when creating unique products that function well and look beautiful.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business. All rights reserved.

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