Books to read: Sticky Wisdom: How to Start a Creative Revolution at Work

I got this book while working at Pfizer, and helping lead an innovation transformation in the consumer health division. We were looking to reboot out approach to product development and creativity in general, and as a part of that we invested in a great set of programs that I still benefit from now, long after those roles. This book is from the ?WhatIf! company, and has many little insights that can help unlock the creativity in you, and in your team.

The book asks a few key questions and offers accompanying insights to build on.

  • What if you could spot what’s killing creativity in your organization right now?

  • What if you could stop yourself squashing ideas and start growing them instead?

  • What if you could help everyone at work to be creative?

  • What if you stopped talking about how important creativity is and started to take practical steps to make it happen.

But most of all….  What if there was a step-by-step guide that showed you exactly how to do it?

Instinctively we all know that creativity at work is important,but for many of us it feels either difficult or intimidating.

Sticky Wisdom delivers powerful insights that take creativity out of the hands of ‘creative people’ and puts it back where it belongs, with all of us. It breaks creativity out into six practical behaviours and shows how every one of us – not just the wacky geniuses – is packed with creative potential. We can start a creative revolution by adopting six behaviours:

  1. Freshness
  2. Greenhousing
  3. Realness
  4. Momentum
  5. Signalling
  6. Courage

These are the behaviours you can identify in highly creative and high-performing teams. These are the behaviours that you can start applying today to revolutionize your life.

Suddenly creativity isn’t such a mystery. Sticky Wisdom makes it easy to talk about, easy to practise and easy to remember.Above all, it makes it easy to get on and do!

One of the points made in the book that makes great sense is the idea that creativity and innovation are not synonymous. Creativity only becomes innovation when the ideas are useful, or described another way, add value. The book is full of little stories and examples to make the point, as illustrated by an exercise with a food retailer team to have the team role play being a meal cooked in a wok. The book goes on to provide examples of the insights gained such as oil that changes color when ready, food that is pre-sliced and provided in numbered packages to sequence cooking properly, and more. These ideas came from the interactive role play and subsequent discussion. This type of activity generally takes me outside my comfort zone, as it does many, but that is the point.

In other posts, I reference the idea of stream jumping, which I got from this book and training. I also value the idea of Green Housing, which is broken into a series of steps outlined in the book consisting of:

  • Suspend Judgement
  • Understand
  • Nurture
  • React
  • Assume
  • INsist

Another key concept from this book, though not unique to the book, is signalling. Part of the accompanying training is around the value of being intentional with signalling to a partner in conversation what your intentions are, or where you are trying to take the conversation. This has been a valuable tool in my kit now for years, as I have learned to be much more clear with my intentions in communication, setting up my audience or partners to better receive and understand my messaging.

Why I recommend this book:

This book is full of great insights, and is a quick read. It can be used to bookmark and drop in and out of, or used as a reference to work through as a team. You cannot read this short reference without gaining value, even if you have extensive experience with change and innovation. It will spark ideas you have forgotten and give you new ones to build on. I cannot go into the full content of the book in a short post, but I encourage you to spend the few dollars it costs to buy this book. It was printed some time ago, but the ideas are as relevant today as when printed the first time!


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