Cover image for When sparks fly : igniting creativity in groups
When sparks fly : igniting creativity in groups
Leonard-Barton, Dorothy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston, Mass. : Harvard Business School Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
x, 242 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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HD53 .L46 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Where do the best creative ideas come from? Most managers assume that it's the readily identifiable "creative types" that offer the quickest route to out-of-the-box thinking. Yet, say Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap, most innovations spring from well-led group interactions. The authors sweep aside conventional thinking about creativity and offer proven strategies for stimulating and directing the group dynamics that lie at the heart of innovative thinking. When Sparks Fly outlines and analyzes each step in the creative process and gives practical suggestions for managing teams. According to Fortune , "The insights in the lively book could turbocharge your team (and maybe even your career)."

Author Notes

Dorothy Leonard is the William J. Abernathy Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, where she serves as a Director of Research. Walter Swap is a Professor of Psychology and Dean of the Colleges at Tufts University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Leonard (Harvard Business School) and Swap (Tufts Univ.) have written a practical and very readable book. They approach creativity from the perspective of managing the creative process for groups rather than managing the supposedly rare, highly creative individual. Their major premise is that organizations must and can find ways to manage groups to encourage creativity and innovation. The authors define and describe the steps in the creative process, including preparation, innovation, opportunity, divergence (generating options), incubation, and convergence (selecting options). Separate chapters address each of these steps in detail, with a primary focus on managerial implications. The authors provide numerous examples and specific techniques and also discuss how managerial style affects the creative process. Detailed coverage is also devoted to the impact of the physical and psychological environment on the creative process. Throughout the book, sidebars substantiate the sound theory and research base underlying the process, yet do not detract from the practical focus. For both managers and employees, this book will be very helpful and easy to read. Faculty will find the book to be an interesting supplement for upper-division undergraduate and graduate students as well as a source of exercises to use in their own teaching. B. J. Keinath; Metropolitan State University

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
1 What Is Group Creativity?p. 1
2 Creative Abrasionp. 19
3 Generating Creative Optionsp. 51
4 Converging on the Best Optionsp. 95
5 Designing the Physical Environmentp. 135
6 Designing the Psychological Environmentp. 163
Notesp. 207
Bibliographyp. 221
Indexp. 229
About the Authorsp. 241