The Creative Organization

Stanford University
Course Lectures
  • What Is Creativity?
    Robert I. Sutton

    Using Play-Doh and the Apple iPod as examples, Robert Sutton, Co-Director of the Center for Work, Technology, and Organization at Stanford University, explains that often creativity is simply making new things out of old ones.

  • Two Weird Ideas That Work
    Robert I. Sutton

    Sutton illustrates two examples from his book "Weird Ideas that Work." He encourages people to ignore and defy superiors and peers, and suggests trying to learn anything from people who say they have solved the same problems you face.

  • Too often, when companies realize they need to innovate and bring creativity into their company, they spend time discussing it but not implementing it. Sutton talks about some examples of that type of situation.

  • Avoiding the Smart Talk Trap
    Robert I. Sutton

    Sutton presents three tips for avoiding the common problem that companies face when they talk about creativity but don't implement it, including making sure the people in senior management know the business, and simple ideas are easier to execute.

  • When trying to foster innovation within an organization, Sutton feels that sometimes the best management is no management at all. He also stresses that creativity means selling, not just inventing something.

  • Some companies like Google allocate a certain amount of time to employees for creative projects outside of daily tasks. Sutton explains how this can work most effectively.

  • Sutton shares what he believes is the single most important diagnostic question to ask within a creative organization: What happens if there is failure? He also believes that there is no real way to determine which ideas are good and which will fail.

  • While Sutton doesn't think there is a true method to differentiate a good idea from a bad one, there are ways to help improve the chances of success, the main one being consulting customers or potential customers.

  • Sutton explains that the majority of research money given to universities does not result in commercially viable products. However, continuing it is often more for the system than the result.