The one-sentence summary

You can foster a more creative organization by adopting ten helpful habits.


  • This is all about how to ignite and lead business creativity.
  • The spark is defined as an elusive moment when a new idea strikes that has the potential to transform the way you do business.
  • Ideas big and small are the lifeblood of successful businesses because they are responsible for higher profits, quicker growth, and game-changing innovation.
  • It outlines the 10 habits of successful creative leadership:
  1. Start an electric conversation – passionate people provide the rocket fuel
  2. Break the management rules – too many of them stifle innovation
  3. Lead with creative choices – hear the weak signals and develop them
  4. Become a talent impresario – fill your company with creative talent
  5. Know why you do what you do – you need an inspiring sense of purpose
  6. Connect through shared values – this philosophy binds everyone together
  7. Build a business playground – a lively atmosphere at work yields more ideas
  8. Balance focus with freedom – learn to deal with creative tensions
  9. Demolish idea barriers – outward-facing collaborative cultures work best
  10. Encourage collisions – create space where people bump into each other unexpectedly


  • Beware the Bozo Explosion. This was Steve Jobs’ phrase for a situation where managers are so polite that mediocre people feel comfortable sticking around. Creativity drops proportionately.
  • Netflix regularly deploy the Keeper Test, in which managers are asked which of their people they would fight hard to keep if they were told they were leaving. This helps identify the really vital creative talent.
  • The Say-do Gap refers to meaningless values written on company walls that have no power whatsoever. They can be a case of straightforward deceit, or merely insufficient commitment. Look out for these.
  • Dead Stars are silos in companies where the prevailing mood is corporate, fear-driven, and too marketing focused. There’s little inspiration there so they wither and die.
  • The CLEAR model shows the steps needed to foster a more creative culture: Communicate, Learn, Energise, Act, Respond.
  • “All great artists and thinkers are great workers, indefatigable not only in inventing, but also in rejecting, sifting, transforming, ordering.” Nietzsche
  • “Only dead fish go with the flow.” Malcolm Muggeridge


  • Much of this has been mentioned before, but it’s a well-informed handbook for anyone wanting to inject more creativity into a company.