Volume 26, May 2003: Creative Expression

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2003 ISSN # 1545-8873

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” — Albert Einstein

“The innovator has to be a warrior. There are far more critics than creators.” — Practical Wisdom

“Innovation has never come through bureaucracy and hierarchy. It’s always come from people.” — John Scully

“If you put fences around people, what you get is sheep.” — a Creativity Course participant


  • What’s Hot in Leadership
  • Maintaining Yourself as a Leader
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Leaders
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Useful Websites & Newsletters
  • Articles/Publications

What’s Hot in Leadership

  • Establishing a climate for bold experimentation and creativity.
  • Challenging everything.
  • Cultivating “positivity” and the capacity for surprise.
  • Expressing openness to ideas, imagination and acceptance of differences.

Maintaining Yourself as a Leader

All organizations have experienced the death of creative expression through “Killer Phrases.”

  • That won’t work.
  • It’s not in the budget.
  • That’s not our problem.
  • Here we go again./li>
  • Yes, but …
  • We’ve (I’ve) tried that before and it didn’t work.
  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
  • Who thought that one up?
  • We aren’t set up to do that.
  • They won’t let us, etc.

It is easy to succumb to this environment, but as a leader, it is your job to push back.

  • Well, it might be worth it.
  • Really, tell me more.
  • Maybe it’s time to try …
  • Stay with this – it might have potential.
  • There’s a time to be realistic later. Let’s be creative now.

Frequently Asked Questions

“Lots of our creative ideas go nowhere.”
Dow Chemical says it takes 3000 ideas to come up with one usable one. So quantity counts. And don’t forget to have a sponsor, an idea champion to pave the way for the innovation.
“There are no new ideas in our team. It’s seems like we process the same-old same-old.”
Perhaps you have become too homogeneous. Symptoms are: decisions are made quickly or not at all, morale is high but creativity is low. Break up the group with some fresh minds – ask a child, a teacher, a consultant, someone who knows nothing about the issue, a person in another field or area. Diversity enhances creativity.
“How do we get out of automatic responses to everything?”
Read Edward deBono’s work about the mountains and valleys of the mind. A percept falls on our brain and washes down into a stream of thought. Our challenge becomes connecting the different streams by chunneling through the mountains of the mind and forcing the flow of the different streams to connect in new patterns. Tools such as Trigger Words, Dictionary Words, Reversing Assumptions, using Metaphors and Analogies, Magazine Cut and Paste are a few of the stimulants to force-fit new thinking.


Instructions for creativity tools can be found on our website: Facilitation Exercises.

Learn to design and redesign processes that plague your organization: Creative Tools and Methods for Innovation.

Inspirational articles, quick tips, links to useful resources, and reviews of books, CDs, and software for awakening creativity in everyday life: Creativity For Life!.

Seminars, workshops, presentations. Visit Paul Plsek and his edgeware: Directed Creativity.

Useful Websites & Newsletters

Sound Therapy CDs combine nature sounds, sound frequency patterns and audiostrobe to entrain the brain into a state of creativity, enhancing visualization, lucid dreaming and accelerated learning.

Visit the Creativity Cafe: Creativity Cafe.

Enhance Creativity at Work: Creativity at Work.


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  • Buzan, Tony. Use Both Sides of Your Brain. New York: Harper Collins, 1993.
  • Cameron, Julia. The Artist’s Way. New York: Putnam, 1992.
  • Capacchione, Lucia. The Creative Journal: The Art of Finding Yourself. Ohio University: Swallow Press, 1979.
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper & Row, 1990.
  • deBono, Edward. Serious Creativity. New York: Harper Collins, 1992.
  • deBono, Edward. Surpetition: Going Beyond Competition. New York: Harper Business, 1992.
  • deBono, Edward. Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step. New York: Harper & Row, 1970.
  • Fritz, Robert. The Path of Least Resistance; Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your OwnLife. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1989.
  • Gardner, Howard. Creating Minds. New York: Basic Books, 1993.
  • Goleman, Daniel; Kaufman, Paul & Ray, Michael. The Creative Spirit, NY: Dutton, 1992.
  • Gordon, William J. Synectics: The Development of Creative Capacity. New York: Harper & Row, 1961.
  • Higgins, James M. 101 Creative Problem Solving Techniques. Winter Park, FL: New Management Publishing Company, 1994.
  • Koestler, Arthur. The Act of Creation. Great Britain: Anchor Press, 1967.
  • Kriegel, Robert J. & Patter, Louis. If It Ain’t Broke … Break It! New York: Warner, 1991.
  • Kuhn, Robert Lawrence (ed.). Handbook for Creative and Innovative Managers. New York: McGraw Hill, 1988.
  • Morris, Jill. Creative Breakthroughs: Tap the Power of Your Unconscious Mind. New York: Warner Books, 1992.
  • Nachmanovitch, Stephen. Free Play. New York: Putnam, 1990.
  • Perkins, DN. The Mind’s Best Work. Harvard University Press, 1981.
  • Plsek, Paul E. Creativity, Innovation, and Quality. Milwaukee: ASQC Quality Press, 1997.
  • Richards, Dick. Artful Work: Awakening Joy, Meaning, and Commiement in the Workplace. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1995.
  • Robinson, Alan G. & Stern, Sam. Corporate Creativity. San Francisco: Bennett Koehler, 1997.
  • Russell, Peter & Evans, Roger. The Creative Process. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1992.
  • Sternberg, Robert J. (Ed.) The Nature of Creativity. Boston: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
  • Thompson, Charles “Chick”. What a Great Idea!New York: Harper Perrenial, 1992.
  • Van Gundy, Arthur. Techniques of Structured Problem-Solving. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988.
  • Van Gundy, Arthur. Idea Power. New York: AMACOM, 1992.
  • Von Oech, Roger. A Whack on the Side of the Head. New York: Warner, 1990.
  • Von Oech, Roger. Creative Whack Pack. Stanford: U.S. Games Systems, Inc., 1989.
  • Wujec, Tom. Pumping Ions: Games and Exercises to Flex Your Mind. New York: Doubleday, 1988.
  • Wycoff, Joyce. Mind Mapping. Berkeley Publishing Group, 1991.


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