The one-sentence summary

Unlearn your serious side and relearn how creativity can stimulate commerce.


  • Grown-ups can rediscover the magic of creativity that we all had as children, and apply it to business, but most people ‘unlearn’ how to do it.
  • Creative brilliance is possible when we allow ourselves to move outside the expected, whereas education and work stifle our natural creative talents.
  • Having lots of ideas increases the likelihood that some will be good – ‘idea spaghetti’.
  • Not accepting the status quo is a good starting point for innovation. It’s important to be constantly curious and looking for things to improve. What bugs you most about something? Now work out how to improve it.
  • Asking the right questions increases the chances of finding the right solutions – ‘the answer is in the question’. Assumptions need to be scrutinised.
  • Taking your mind off solving a problem increases your chance of solving it.
  • Visualising ideas helps free up creative thinking, but evocative language also helps. So does taking time with the details so they are as vivid as possible.
  • Thinking big helps, as does trying on other people’s shoes, and using orchestrated chaos. Others will certainly see things differently to you.
  • You need to murder any ideas that aren’t worth spending time on, and then choose the big one and put it into orbit.


  • There are lots of techniques and games to help train your creative muscles.
  • Creativity and commerce can collide to great effect if we allow ourselves to free up proper play-based thinking.
  • Convergent thinking converges on one single answer, whereas divergent thinking has many possible answers – this is likely to be more fruitful.
  • The brain prepares itself to come up with an insight even before it has solved the problem – it’s fine to relax into this process and let it happen naturally.
  • Ignore the most obvious creative solutions or put them to one side. Creativity is about making connections between two seemingly unconnected things.


  • Having Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame as a co-author is initially appealing, but in fact he just adds an anecdote at the end of each chapter.
  • A fair number of the exercises aren’t original –they can be found in other books such as Flicking Your Creative Switch.