Shelves: owned , physical I read this book as part of my personal development goals at work. Much of the value of this book is working through the exercises throughout, so if you are really interested in the material, you should read it for yourself. My full summary, including a description of all the blocks Adams describes and how to avoid them can be found here. Adams motivation in writing this book is to introduce people to ways to improve their idea generating ability. Adams makes the claim that having good ideas does I read this book as part of my personal development goals at work.
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Shelves: owned , physical I read this book as part of my personal development goals at work. Much of the value of this book is working through the exercises throughout, so if you are really interested in the material, you should read it for yourself. My full summary, including a description of all the blocks Adams describes and how to avoid them can be found here.
Adams motivation in writing this book is to introduce people to ways to improve their idea generating ability. Adams makes the claim that having good ideas does I read this book as part of my personal development goals at work.
Adams makes the claim that having good ideas does not require genius although that does not hurt. Most people fail to have good ideas because of conceptual blocks. A conceptual block is anything that blocks someone from having a good idea. The first half of the book describes different types of conceptual blocks and contains a number of exercises to help the reader understand the blocks and how to avoid them.
Some of the exercises are best done with more than one person; I was not able to do those. The second half of the book discuses strategies for overcoming conceptual blocks on the individual, group, and organizational level. Although the first half the book also talks about how to avoid blocks, the second half of the book goes into more detail about specific strategies for avoiding blocks. Not all blocks apply to all people. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.
Some blocks will seem nonsensical and learning about others may feel like a revelation. It is also important to note that Adams does not claim that creativity is the be all and end all. However, he chose to focus on creativity in his book because he feels that, in the context of the group he is writing for Americans with at least a fairly decent education , creativity is an underdeveloped skill compared to rationality and diligent hard work. All of these factors are important for success.
First you need to have a creative idea, then you need to check whether or not it is reasonable, and then you need to implement it. Adams has written a book that manages to cram a lot of information on creativity into pages. He is clear about which of his statements are scientifically justified, which are justified by his experience and the experience of others, and which are just his own ideas. Overall, the book provides an accessible and concise overview of different blocks to creativity and how to overcome them.
Plus, the exercises are fun! The list of blocks that get in the way of creative thinking are also useful, and the discussion of the psychology around them is fascinating, but I walked away without a keen awareness of how to get past all of these blocks, other than brainstorming and making lists.
That said, perhaps the most powerful aspect of the book is to treat creativity as a skill, and one that can be honed, and perhaps the mere awareness of that fact will be enough to get better over time. Some good quotes from the book: We have a one-watt mind in a megawatt world. We cannot process all of the data available to us in raw form.
The mind, therefore, depends heavily on structures, models, and stereotypes. Perceptual blocks are obstacles that prevent the problem-solver from clearly perceiving either the problem itself or the information needed to solve the problem. Once a label professor, housewife, black, chair, butterfly, automobile, laxative has been applied, people are less likely to notice the actual qualities or attributes of what is being labeled.
From New Think by Edward de Bono : Logic is the tool that is used to dig holes deeper and bigger, to make them altogether better holes. But if the hole is in the wrong place, then no amount of improvement is going to put it in the right place.
No matter how obvious this may seem to every digger, it is still easier to go on digging in the same place than to start all over again in a new place. Vertical thinking is digging the same hole deeper; lateral thinking is trying again elsewhere. Fear to make a mistake, to fail, or to take a risk is perhaps the most general and common emotional block. When we fail we are made to realize that we have let others down usually someone we love.
Similarly we are taught to live safely a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, a penny saved is a penny earned and avoid risk whenever possible. Obviously, when you produce and try to sell a creative idea you are taking a risk: of making a mistake, failing, making an ass of yourself, losing money, hurting yourself, or whatever. In a sense, problem-solving is bringing order to chaos. A desire for order is therefore necessary.
However, the ability to tolerate chaos is a must. If you analyze or judge too early in the problem-solving process, you will reject many ideas. This is detrimental for two reasons.
First of all, newly formed ideas are fragile and imperfect--they need time to mature and acquire the detail needed to make them believable. Secondly, as we will discuss later, ideas often lead to other ideas. You should allow the mind to struggle with problems over time. Incubation is important in problem-solving. It is poor planning not to allow adequate time for incubation in the solution of an important problem. It is also important to be able to relax in the midst of problem-solving.
If you are never relaxed, your mind is usually on guard against non-serious activities, with resulting difficulties in the type of thinking necessary for fluent and flexible conceptualization. Arthur Koestler was an important writer who among other topics, treated conceptualization. He defined creative acts as the combination of previously unrelated structures in such a way that you get more out of the emergent whole than you have put in.
This is one of the essentials of creative thinking. A concept may be so contrary to the logical progress of the problem solution, precedent, or common intuition, that it may cause laughter. In fact any answer to a problem releases tension. Your unbelievably insightful solution to a problem may therefore be greeted with giggles and hoots, not only from others but even from yourself. The Introduction to Process Notebook, also by Interaction Associates, summarized the situation as follows: Just as we use physical tools for physical tasks, we employ conceptual tools for conceptual tasks.
To familiarize yourself with a tool, you may experiment with it, test it in different situations, and evaluate its usefulness. The same method can be applied to conceptual tools. Our ability as thinkers is dependent on our range and skill with our own tools.
We learn as we grow older that it is good to be smart. Smartness is often associated with the amount of knowledge we possess. A question is an admission that we do not know or understand something. We therefore leave ourselves open to suspicion that we are not omniscient. Thus, we see the almost incredible ability of students to sit totally confused in a class in a university that costs thousands of dollars a year to attend and not ask questions.
Thus, we find people at cocktail parties listening politely to conversations they do not understand, and people in highly technical fields accepting jargon they do not understand. A camel is a horse designed by committee.
In authoritative systems individuals attempt to perform well according to their job descriptions. It is not too difficult in any large organization to find people whose job is to prevent mistakes.
Bob Sutton, an organizational behavior professor at Stanford, is fond of saying that non-innovative companies reward success, punish failure, and accept inaction. Innovative companies reward both success and failure assuming it follows a valiant attempt and punish inaction.
Conceptual Blockbusting: A Guide to Better Ideas
Lapp Memory, by Larry R. Adams Oct 24, Jamal Burgess rated it liked it. I like the book. Many psychologists believe that children are more creative than adults only because adults are more aware of the practical constraints Chapter 5: To familiarize yourself with a tool, you may experiment with it, test it in different situations, and evaluate its usefulness. Nov 18, Nikish Chanekar rated it it was amazing. Here, I will make an observation, and illustrate it by an allegory. Environmental blocks are imposed by the immediate social and physical environment that hinder thinking, such as the following:.
Conceptual Blockbusting by James L. Adams PDF Download