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‘Creativity for Competitive Advantage’ review


Creativity for Competitive Advantage.
Chris Carling.
Fenman, 1999. A4 ringbinder, £195 plus carriage.
ISBN 1 872483 78 X

This new collection of activities returns to a frequently used theme of creativity, but instead of the usual, fairly straightforward, simple creativity puzzles and processes, this author relates creativity processes directly to a range of business situations. Many learners attending training programmes that include creativity session customarily enjoy these sessions, but frequently fail to implement them because they fail to relate the processes to their own world of work. This collection sets out to remedy this by relating the creativity to specific business applications. The relationships, grouped in four parts, include using creativity to gain a competitive and innovative edge; creativity specifically concerned with problem solving; using creativity in dealing with people in communication and team situations; and methods of increasing one’s own personal creativity.

The collection contains 19 activities, each following- the pattern of what the activity is about; its purpose; approximate timing; materials needed; resources provided (handouts, OHP slide masters); an overview of the activity; and how to prepare and use it. The activities are self-standing for use in a wide range of training programmes, but can also be grouped in associations. Advice is given for this latter process in each activity, suggesting relationships of that activity with others.

The activities and their resources are clearly written and laid out, and many are accompanied (as OHP slide masters) with humorous and relevant cartoons. The content is more than a simple ‘here’s an activity for you to use’, rather a mini-session on the subject containing at least one, and frequently several, supporting activities. For example, Activity 5 ‘Choosing Winners’ starts with an introduction to the concept of the right person for the job and a grid approach to comparing information; describes the grid approach using a case study; sets a group activity for the learners to practise using the approach; a group activity considering gut feelings and intuitive thinking; and a final discussion, paired activity and individual exercise based on force field analysis.

I can recommend this collection to any trainer who needs/wants/has to include material on this subject on their programmes and requires a more specific type of approach to creativity.

Leslie Rae, September 1999


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