The Hothouse Effect: Intensify Creativity in Your Organization Using Secrets from History's Most Innovative Communities

The Hothouse Effect: Intensify Creativity in Your Organization Using Secrets from History's Most Innovative Communities

The Hothouse Effect: Intensify Creativity in Your Organization Using Secrets from History's Most Innovative Communities

The Hothouse Effect: Intensify Creativity in Your Organization Using Secrets from History's Most Innovative Communities

Synopsis

"Throughout history, across many centuries and an enormous range of cultures, certain communities have stood out as bastions of creativity and intellectual progress. From ancient Athens to the vibrant American jazz scene of the 20th century, these seemingly disparate enclaves actually share a set of defining characteristics that hold considerable relevance for modern businesses.

The Hothouse Effect examines the dynamics of several such communities, or "creative hothouses," and identifies the factors that drove their unusual creative fervor. Case studies of contemporary businesses, plus interviews with executives, illustrate clearly how the nurturing of creative drive can lead directly to more innovative products, revolutionized processes, and dramatic improvements in results.

This valuable book also offers practical tools for assessing creativity in any organization, then implementing the results of the assessment toward building the creative hothouse effect that will drive innovation, productivity, and results well into the future."

Excerpt

History’s most creative communities enchant us with the almost otherworldly quality of their achievements. We may visit the great cities of Europe or trek across harsh landscapes simply to wander through places that are fantastic in their beauty, obscure in their purpose, or haunting in their ruined splendor. Museums display their glory and countless books—travel guides, memoirs, biographies, histories, novels, and art books—navigate us through their mysteries. Any time and place that hosted an extraordinary outpouring of creativity enthralls us. Like exotically beautiful, wildly blooming plants cultivated in the moist, mineral rich, electrically charged atmosphere of a paradisal hothouse, these communities leave behind an unforgettable legacy of creativity, which is why I call the process that gives rise to them the hothouse effect.

The idea of the hothouse effect grew out of my curiosity about how such places come to be. Was it an accident of birth, a loaded gene pool that gave ancient Athens its great writers, thinkers, political innovators, builders, and artists? Was fifteenth-century Florence, the heart of the Renaissance, really more creative than Venice or Rome? Or are there different types of creativity, with Florence shining in the arts, Venice in long-distance trade, and Rome in politics?

Perhaps chance or luck determines creative destiny. One place or another is always bound to lead, and it doesn’t matter which. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t, and any suggestion of a pattern to human behavior is wishful thinking. This is a fairly popular way of viewing history even among historians, but a look at any modern organization contradicts it. Most people believe that success or failure in business stems from cogent methods of strategic planning, development, financial management, leadership, and so forth. Certain methods work and ignoring them results in failure. When these methods work over and over, we identify them as patterns of effective behavior. Ethical financial oversight, effective planning protocols, and clearly articulated objectives are among patterns of behavior that increase the odds of business success. We distill these patterns into principles, statements that demonstrate the applicability of the patterns to . . .

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