I have come to believe that there simply isn’t a universal formula for creativity, if there were I would find it immensely disappointing as part of the joy of this work is the adventure, the experimentation and the not quite knowing what is going to happen. Rather than seek a universal creative truth I believe the key is to discover one’s own unique recipe by crashing together a number of different ideas, thoughts, beliefs and experiences.
Below is a collection of resources that may prove to be useful “navigation aids” in finding your own unique formula for creativity. Some of them are my own, some of them are from others who have influenced my work.
CSS CREATIVE PRACTICE RESOURCES
Some resources that I have created
OTHER CREATIVE RESOURCES
Some wonderful books and other stuff that has been a big influence on my work. I’ve included links to Amazon here but of course these books are available from many other online retailers or your local book shop.
|“Orbiting the Giant Hairball”
A beautiful masterpiece about creativity and not being part of a dull, grey world. My favourite book and the reason I wrote CSS. I wrote a blog about this book here.
|“Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre”
The seminal classic from the master of modern improvisation. The only book I have read more than 3 times! Keith has been the major influence on my work. Try and get a copy of this with the original masked ensemble cover.
|“Impro for Storytellers”
Johnstone’s follow up to Impro that beautifully builds and goes into depth of some of the core principles of how we relate to each other in a continually improvised manner.
|“Everything’s an Offer: How to do more with less”
Brilliantly written – insightful, entertaining and engaging. My favourite book on applied improvisation and the value of this body of work in business.
|“Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz”
Barrett is an accomplished jazz musician who also happens to hold a PhD in Organisational Behaviour and is a Professor of Management. This book clashes together ideas from improvised jazz with modern day leadership.
|“From Workplace to Playspace”
Meyer’s great book on reclaiming play as a legitimate form of work and turning our workplaces into playspaces.
|“Experiencing Risk, Spontaneity and Improvisation in Organisational Change: Working Live”
Patricia Shaw & Ralph Stacey
A much more academic take on the subject but this book includes a fantastic chapter on “Working Live” by Shaw and two great chapters on improvisation, change and breaking habits by Preben Friis and Henry Larsen of the DaCapo Theatre Company in Denmark.
|“Changing Conversations in Organisations”
Another more academic book but one that re-frames the idea from our organisations being ‘things’ to them being one complex, continual improvised conversation.
|“Flawed but Willing: Leading Large Organisations in the Age of Connection”
A beautiful book about the realities of corporate life and the struggle to remain creative and connected within the belly of the beast. Written from a position of vulnerability, experience and generosity. Tells some awkward and truthful stories, asks some difficult questions and puts in a big genre-defining challenge to the world of business books.
|“Creative Whack Pack”
Roger von Oech
Not a book but a pack of cards designed to disturb habitual patterns of thinking, stuckness and procrastination. The cards offer short stories, quotes , ideas and questions based on four “suits” of creative thinking: The Explorer (get started), The Artist (develop ideas), The Judge (evaluate and critique) and the Warrior (implement and do.) The rather odd and occasionally creepy art work gives them a feel across between a set of tarot cards and the children’s game Happy Families!
|Change. Principles of problem formation and problem resolution
Paul Watzlavic, John Weakland and Richard Fisch
Not a book about creativity but a serious book about psychological stuckness and the relationship between persistence and change. Although it can be rather heavy going at times the ‘patterns of stuckness’ and idea that trying harder, over-simplifying things, coming up with utopian solutions and accidentally setting paradoxes makes things worse, rather than better, is a great one for those looking to liberate their creative spirit.
|Intelligence in the Flesh
There are many books out there on the role our bodies play in our day-to-day sense making but this is the best one I have read. Guy Claxton explores many perspectives that unravel the Cartesian split between mind and body and presents a compelling case for taking our somatic experience seriously.
|What it is
I’m still not entirely sure what this book is about other than it is inspiring and beautiful. Reading it feels like experiencing a dream. Every page is a work of art with recurring symbols, colour, words of wisdom and snippets of the author’s personal creative journey. Probably the only book I have experienced where one can lose oneself in a single page for a long time.