inGenius: A book review by Bob Morris

inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity
Tina Seelig
HarperOne/An imprint of HarperCollins (2012)

How and why the tools and techniques of creative thinking are as essential to invention as the scientific method is to discovery

There are six components that comprise what Tina Seelig characterizes as an “Innovation Engine.” Three are internal: information that becomes knowledge (fuel), imagination (a catalytic converter that transforms knowledge into new ideas), and attitude (a spark that ignites the Engine, setting it in motion). All three internal components are essential and interdependent. Seelig suggests that there are also three external components: resources (a community’s assets), habitats (physical locations within which the Engine functions at peak performance), and culture (shared beliefs, values, and behaviors of the given community). As I read the Introduction in which Seelig briefly discusses the Engine, I immediately thought of an orchestra and chorus, comprised of world-class talent led by a great conductor, who perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Each of her Engine’s components has a counterpart within the structure of a symphony orchestra in combination with its score and venue.

These are among the passages in the book that caught my eye:

o The “Theory of Inventive Problem Solving” or TRIZ (the Russian acronym) methodology (Pages 50-51)
o A two-by-two creativity/pressure matrix (106-108)
o Habitats that simulate or inhibit creativity (128-131)
o Edward de Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” model/exercise (128-131)
o Creating a habitat that encourages and supports risk taking and experimentation (160-163)
o Tapping into and activating strong emotional engagement (179-180)
o Précis: Knowledge, Imagination, and Attitude (185-189)

I commend Tina Seelig on immediately establishing a direct, personal rapport with her reader as she begins to provide a wealth of information, insights, and counsel within eleven chapters. She then sustains that rapport throughout her narrative. Presumably many others will feel (as I did) that she wrote this book specifically for them. When concluding the book, she observes, “You hold the key to your Innovation Engine and have creative genius waiting to be unleashed. By tapping into this natural resource you have the power to overcome challenges and generate opportunities of all dimensions. Your ideas – big and small – are the critical starting point for innovations that propel us forward. Without creativity, we are trapped in a world that is not just stagnant, but one that slips backward. As such, we are each responsible for inventing the future. Turn the key.”

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