Zig ZagThe Surprising Path to Greater Creativity
A science-backed method to maximize creative potential in any sphere of life With the prevalence of computer technology and outsourcing, new jobs and fulfilling lives will rely heavily on creativity and innovation. Keith Sawyer draws from his expansive research of the creative journey, exceptional creators, creative abilities, and world-changing innovations to create an accessible, eight-step program to increasing anyone's creative potential. Sawyer reveals the surprising secrets of highly creative people (such as learning to ask better questions when faced with a problem), demonstrates how to come up with better ideas, and explains how to carry those ideas to fruition most effectively. This science-backed, step-by step method can maximize our creative potential in any sphere of life. Offers a proven method for developing new ideas and creative problem-solving no matter what your profession Includes an eight-step method, 30 practices, and more than 100 techniques that can be launched at any point in a creative journey Psychologist, jazz pianist, and author Keith Sawyer studied with world-famous creativity expert Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Sawyer's book offers a wealth of easy to apply strategies and ideas for anyone who wants to tap into their creative power.
Introduction: Choosing Creativity 1 Step One ASK: How the Right Questions Lead to the Most Novel Answers 19 Find the Question Search the Space Transform the Problem Step Two LEARN: How to Prepare Your Mind for Constant Creativity 49 Practice Deliberately Master Your Domain Learn Forever Balance Specialty with Generality Step Three LOOK: How to Be Aware of the Answers All Around You 73 Use Fresh Eyes Grab New Sights and Cool Sounds Render It Visible Step Four PLAY: How to Free Your Mind to Imagine Possible Worlds 101 Visualize Relax Find the Right Box Be a Beginner Step Five THINK: How to Have Way More Ideas Than You’ll Ever Need 129 Ideate Transform Schedule Step Six FUSE: How to Combine Ideas in Surprising New Ways 153 Force-Fuse Make Analogies Do a People Mash-Up Step Seven CHOOSE: How to Pick the Best Ideas and Then Make Them Even Better 173 Know What You’re Looking For Host an Idea Competition Look Past the Good Edit, Revise, Improve Step Eight MAKE: How Getting Your Ideas Out into the World Drives Creativity Forward 195 Draw It See It Build It Make It Concrete Reflect on It Conclusion 215 Appendix A: Outline of All of the Steps, Practices, and Techniques 229 Appendix B: The Research Behind the Eight Steps 237 References 243 Acknowledgments 261 About the Author 263 Index 265
Keith Sawyer, PhD, is associate professor of psychology, education, and business at Washington University in St. Louis. An accomplished jazz pianist and former video game designer for Atari, he has published widely on the topics of collaboration and creativity. His book Group Genius won awards from Library Journal and (800) CEO-READ and has been translated into many languages. He is the proud owner of a collection of vintage Grateful Dead bootleg tapes, his childhood piano teacher's old (but working) accordion, and a 1982 BMW motorcycle (also working). To learn more, visit keithsawyer.com.
"No matter what kind of creativity I studied, the process was the same. Creativity did not descend like a bolt of lightning that lit up the world in a single brilliant flash. It came in tiny steps, bits of insight, and incremental changes. Zigs and zags. When people followed those zigs and zags, ideas and revelations started flowing." —From the Introduction Can you be more creative? Absolutely, and Zig Zag shows you how. Dr. Keith Sawyer, a psychologist, professor, jazz pianist, and former video game designer, is one of the world's leading experts on creativity. To develop his accessible eight-step creativity program, Sawyer explored the lives of exceptional creators, tapped into the back stories of world-changing innovations, and analyzed laboratory experiments that delved deeply into the everyday creativity that all of us share. He discovered many surprising secrets of highly creative people—how they question assumptions when presented with new problems, how they get beyond creative blocks, and above all, how they negotiate the many twists and turns along the way. Zig Zag draws on these secrets to provide an eight-step program that will help you achieve greater creativity—whether you're looking for new ways to excel at your job, build a fulfilling career, develop a more deeply satisfying personal life, find fresh, clever, permanent solutions to nagging problems, make better decisions, bring about change in your community, and more. Zig Zag provides an unprecedented collection of more than one hundred practical, hands-on activities that will keep you moving down the creative path. These research-based techniques help you ask deeper questions, see the world in new ways, and develop novel ideas. Zig Zag is your guidebook to the surprising, unpredictable, and fascinating journey that leads to greater creativity.
Praise for Zig Zag "Finally! A creativity advice book that's grounded in scientific research." —Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience "Zig Zag is the most fun and most useful creativity book I have ever read. Keith Sawyer's gem sweeps you up with a host of great stories, quizzes, and exercises and teaches you one way after the other to be more creative." —Robert I. Sutton, professor of Management Science, Stanford University; author, Good Boss, Bad Boss and The No Asshole Rule "In geometry the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But in creative pursuits, Zig Zag shows us, it's anything but. Keith Sawyer is the most creative person writing about creativity that I know." —Robert Mankoff, cartoon editor, The New Yorker; author, The Naked Cartoonist: A New Way to Enhance Your Creativity "Creativity is essential in our journey to the future, and this gem of a book helps each of us on the way." —Tim Brown, chief executive officer and president, IDEO; author, Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation "Keith Sawyer is the best combination of a brilliant creativity researcher and storyteller around." —Peter Sims, author, Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries "Zig Zag reveals the true nature of the creative process: improvisational, surprising, with unexpected twists and turns. The book is filled with hands-on activities that help you manage that process and keep it moving forward to a successful creative outcome." —Josh Linkner, author, Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity
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