By Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg

If you are interested in exploring creativity and innovation from an academic standpoint, here’s a few good places to start.

Robert Sternberg’s Handbook of Creativity is a solid and wide-ranging collection of journal articles, most of them classics within the area. This book is probably the best place to start, if you haven’t read about the subject before.

Similar to Sternberg’s book, but more focused on the domain of business innovation is Davila, Epstein and Shelton’s newly published three-volume series The Creative Enterprise. The series covers three main aspects of creativity and innovation in business – strategy, culture, and execution – and contains more up-to-date research articles. The books are good, but very expensive, so it might make sense to borrow them at your local library instead. (Disclaimer: Davila is an old professor of mine from IESE Business School).

Next, Csikszentmihalyi’s Creativity is not a collection of articles, but a longer, unified work based on hundreds of interviews with creative people. The book provides lots of case stories about creativity at work, and Csikszentmihalyi’s theoretical framework is interesting; however, the strong reliance on interviews makes some of his conclusions seem anecdotally based. As with many of the titles in this genre, it is mostly focused on creativity as it occurs within art and science; business innovation is touched upon, but not explored in depth.

Finally, if you (as I do) have a specific interest in brainstorming, then you might also consider checking out Paulus and Nijstaad’s Group Creativity, which focuses exclusively on this subject. Again, this is an academic book – if you are looking for practical brainstorming advice, check out IDEO’s The Art of Innovation (see my review), which contains some good tips on this.

Originally published by Thomas Wedell on September 17, 2007.

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