Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration

Group Genius The Creative Power of Collaboration Creativity has long been thought to be an individual gift best pursued alone schools organizations and whole industries are built on this idea But what if the most common beliefs about how creativi

  • Title: Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration
  • Author: Robert Keith Sawyer
  • ISBN: 9780465071920
  • Page: 446
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Creativity has long been thought to be an individual gift, best pursued alone schools, organizations, and whole industries are built on this idea But what if the most common beliefs about how creativity works are wrong In this authoritative and fascinating new book, Keith Sawyer, a psychologist at Washington University, tears down some of the most popular myths about crCreativity has long been thought to be an individual gift, best pursued alone schools, organizations, and whole industries are built on this idea But what if the most common beliefs about how creativity works are wrong In this authoritative and fascinating new book, Keith Sawyer, a psychologist at Washington University, tears down some of the most popular myths about creativity and erects new principles in their place He reveals that creativity is always collaborative even when you re alone That eureka moment in the bathtub couldn t have come to Archimedes if he hadn t spent so many hours arguing and comparing notes with his fellow mathematicians and philosophers Sawyer draws on compelling stories of inventions and innovations the inventors of the ATM, the mountain bike, and open source operating systems, among others, to demonstrate the freewheeling ways of true innovation He shares the results of his own acclaimed research on jazz groups, theater ensembles, and conversation analysis, to show us how to be creative in collaborative group settings, how to change organizational dynamics for the better, and how to tap into our own reserves of creativity.

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      Published :2020-05-03T17:13:39+00:00

    About "Robert Keith Sawyer"

    1. Robert Keith Sawyer

      r R Keith Sawyer, a professor of education at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, studies creativity, learning, and collaboration After receiving his computer science degree from MIT in 1982, he began his career with a two year stint designing videogames for Atari His titles included Food Fight, Neon, and Magician From 1984 to 1990, he was a principal at Kenan Systems Corporation, where he worked as a management consultant on innovation technologies His clients included Citicorp, ATT, and U.S West In 1990, Dr Sawyer began his doctoral studies in psychology, where he studied creativity with Dr Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi author of best selling books such as Flow and Creativity Since receiving his Ph.D in 1994, he has dedicated his career to research on creativity, collaboration, and learning He has been a jazz pianist for over 30 years, and spent several years playing piano with Chicago improv theater groups.Dr Sawyer has published fourteen books and over 80 scientific articles His research has been featured on CNN, Fox News, TIME, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR and other media A popular speaker, he lectures to corporations, associations, and universities around the world on creativity and innovation.


    1. The premise of this book is intriguing. Genius and innovation rarely, if ever, happens as a result of a single person acting alone. Sawyer brings to light many examples of "genius" that seemed to happen alone, but didn't. Bell, Edison, Einstein and others who in reality acted in concert with others, not alone. This idea that people working together always generate the greatest innovation. Sawyer can get bogged down in a bit too much detail for me, but the topic, and his grasp of it, keep me in. [...]

    2. Definitely leaps and bounds better than The Global Brain by Howard Bloom. Still, it's very clear this was written in 2007. This is a *really* great book for 2007, but there are more exciting books out there now. I would definitely read something new by Sawyer. He has 2 newer books that I will try to read soon.

    3. Chapter 2 is what the book should have been all about. Although he's only skimming the surface of his research it provides some unique insights into the Collaborative Mind. Unfortunately he tries to map his knowledge about the mind to the connected age and anything that can be defined as innovation. From that point on the book is all about well-known stories that are nice to read but no real evidence in what them make unique. Being a lean / agile practitioner his idea of 'leaning organizations' [...]

    4. Sawyer explores collaborative creativity in this monograph and breaks down the crucial elements of a successful creative, collaborative environment. He discusses the importance of listening, keeping an open mind, combining/fusing ideas, improvisation, and flow. He provides a lot of examples of successful companies and not so successful collaborations. He also includes a lot of helpful secrets or hints to successful collaboration.

    5. This book contains a very interesting and thorough research about the way a group can be creative. This is mostly included in the first half of the book. The second half focuses mostly on creativity itself while relating it again to the effect of collaboration and communities. The fact that this book focused on the effects of collaboration for creativity was rather fresh for me.

    6. What an awesome book! It packs plenty of depth to the point of perhaps being a little too technical to many. Nonetheless, I feel that ANYONE needs to read it. Mr. Sawyer's concepts are very relevant to both our jobs and our lives; so I read it twice!

    7. Let's brainstorm. Or so I thought.Open brainstorming sessions, as explained by Keith Sawyer in Group Genius, achieve less than we might think. When a group's focus is on simply getting ideas onto paper, their output is less effective than if led with a strict instruction to focus on generating quality ideas. A creative group needs a facilitator, someone to define the problem and direct people to come up with solutions, someone who says, "No idea is ever worth anything unless it has been well tho [...]

    8. Group Genius written by Keith Sawyer, challenges commonly held beliefs about the path to creative innovation. Sawyer draws upon historical, as well as current day, events and practices to illustrate his belief that “the lone genius is a myth.” There is no inventor sitting in his room toiling away at creative thought, but rather creative thought stems from people’s experiences in life and the influence others have had upon it. Relevant to anyone wishing to bolster creativity in their busine [...]

    9. Fascinating, mind-expanding, many “are you kidding me?” moments… Sawyer presents what he has found to be the “real truth” (226) about creativity: improvised collaboration generates innovation. The concept of the “lone genius” is myth because, as Sawyer argues, “innovation always emerges from a series of sparks - never a single flash of insight”(7). Sawyer provides examples of innovations widely considered to be products of incredibly talented individuals – such as the telegra [...]

    10. Admittedly a quick read through, starting with part 2, moving to part 3 and going back to part 1.Part 2 is perhaps the meatiest of the sections. But it was in part 1 that I gleaned that I should be thinking about this in terms of verbal (versus visual) brainstorming and group work. So that was pretty important.Lots o' examples which I skimmed, being familiar with many of them. Nice development of taxonomies. Useful. Because of that, the four (instead of three) stars.Oh, yes. The long description [...]

    11. This was a book I read for work (provided by my manager) about innovation and how it is groups that are truly creative, not individuals. Most of the book is very interesting. It is pretty clearly contrived in many cases (how often are there exactly 10 reasons something is true?), is very obviously tilted toward companies that obviously prove his points (shock), and goes a little too crazy in trying to generalize his ideas to humanity (apparently we must innovate optimally to survive -- I'm certa [...]

    12. A scholar who immerses himself in improv comedy, jazz and intellectual creativity? My kinda guy. Keith Sawyer's style is easy to read, understand and implement. Unfortunately for my students, as I read Sawyer's book, I simultaneously rewrote the classes I was teaching in order to accommodate Sawyer's ideas. Lucky for me, my students were brave enough to let go of their assumptions and fears in order to strive for transformative group flow experience. As a result, divergent, kooky and brilliant i [...]

    13. Not the most scintillating read, but I've been checking out a lot of these books to bolster my understanding of Web 2.0 business collaboration, since I've been doing a lot of magazine writing on the topic over the past year. The biggest take-home of this book is that great ideas and inventions aren't the products of individual genius, and they don't take place in a single blazing moment of inspiration; they happen collaboratively, through small, connecting sparks of innovation, and continual tri [...]

    14. Wow, this book blew me away. It condenses and distills much of what various other books hint at in terms of economic transformation. Dr. Sawyer covers a lot of ground, has many, many case studies but does so in a easy to comprehend manner. You can tell he has been an good educator, he writes clearly and concisely and does not talk too much in "business speak". For anyone hoping to make some sense of the "new" economy we are finding ourselves in, this book will either exhilarate you or depress yo [...]

    15. This book gives many examples of how most inventions are the result of a collaborative effort. Most individuals are building on the ideas of many others. One person may make the final breakthrough at times, but many others have helped to lay the groundwork. Creativity increases when a variety of personalities/backgrounds are involved. People think that they are more creative under pressure, but that is not true. People working alone and then pooling their ideas are generally more creative and pr [...]

    16. I have long been a proponent of the concept of group genius long before it was defined by Keith Sawyer. However, to see this corroborated was both inspiring and validating. Let this be an eye opener to those whose can only move when all is mapped out. Nurturing creativity to provide solutions will come more readily to those who understand the process. This is a must read for anyone who needs to work with people for any purpose from community functions to corporate goals.

    17. this book was a bit uneven for me it starts strong with lots of insight into how creativity works, especially focusing on the power of informed brainstorming and the key role of conversation in creativity. i found the anecdotes about how famous inventions really happened to be very interesting. later in the book, the author starts to give prescriptions about how companies can organize for improved productivity and i found this part much less useful. still a good book on creativity.

    18. Anybody using Web2.0 technologies will appreciate the examples. But just like books on creativity that focussed to much on the individual, this one goes to the opposite corner of looking at creativity emerging from the action of groups. The reality is that both are really important.For the Open Science crowd this is worth at least a good skim.

    19. Wanted to know how to build and foster creativity but got too little I'm afraid. A few antipatterns, but nothing close to a coherent theory. I admit I might have expected too much in that department because of a friend's recommendation. If you love a multitude of anecdotes loosely connected to something the author decides to call 'creativity', this is a book for you.

    20. In a world where individualism, lack of creativity, and bad meeing process is often prominent, this book provides insights, experiences, and methods that offer hope. If read and applied it provides some pathways for us to create a more promising future through creativity and collaboration.

    21. This is what my current research is on, so no doubt hat is why I like this book so much. But Sawyer does such a good job of making the science behind group creativity understandable and engaging. He's coming to visit us at BYU in the fall, and I'm rereading this to refresh my memory of his ideas.

    22. Yes! A very good book on innovation via collaboration. It makes an excellent argument against the 'lone genius' myth and spells out the key features you'll need if you're the type that likes to go about being innovative with a team.

    23. This is an interesting take innovation and the power of group collaboration. The main idea is that innovation is not a solitary creation, but the building of sparks together over time from many people into extraordinary ideas.

    24. The first half of this book was a bit slow. It picked up in the second half. I'm not sure it gave me any great "insight", but it reminded me of a number of things that are important to keep "top of mind".

    25. A controversial proposition that hypothesizes that people as groups, rather than as individuals, are more capable of great accomplishments.

    26. I really enjoyed parts of this book, especially some of the mental exercises.I look forward to reading portions of this book again since I listened to it this time around.

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