Creativity Today - Igor Byttebier & Ramon Vullings
with Creation Today - Godelieve Spaas & Igor Byttebier

Creativity TodayI’m indebted to my friend Cyriel Kortleven for providing the subject of this review.

The book is actually two books in one. The first and largest part comprises ‘Creativity Today’, with the final thirty or so pages containing the delightful bonus of a second book ‘Creation Today’.

First things first. Creativity Today provides a comprehensive introduction and exploration of the creative process. Its authors are clearly experts in this area with a love of their work and a passion for sharing their knowledge. This is reflected in the imaginative layout of the book, designed to help the reader extract the maximum value.

The book is designed to be read in a non-linear fashion, and pages are clearly identified as having a focus on training, insight, or notes for facilitators. The result is a flexible and rich resource for those wishing to understand and implement creativity in their organisation.

In broad outline the book divides the process of creation into three stages:-

  • Starting
  • Divergence
  • Convergence
  • For each of these stages there is a description of a comprehensive range of tools with tips on how and where they can be used. What is perhaps unique, and adds great value, is the large collection of examples, exercise and puzzles which lift the explanations from the page and bring clarity to what otherwise might be a daunting mass of knowledge.

This is an entertaining as well as educational book that is a pleasure to read, but as the book says, its real value comes when you take the tools and apply them, so what are you waiting for? Highly recommended.

Creation Today, a separate title occupies the final thirty or so pages of the book. ‘Creation Today’ is a complimentary, but quite different book. Its central theme is a call for a shift in the perception of the world from being basically static until disturbed by change, to a world in which constant, ever present change is normality, and the absence of change only an illusion.

This perhaps seemingly slight shift in thinking is explored to reveal the profound effect it has on the behaviour of organisations, dramatically enhancing their ability to change.

The authors then offer three principles that may infuse an organisation with this enhanced capability:-

  • Imagination
  • Co-creation
  • Experimentation
  • The book concludes with the final 20 pages or so outlining case studies showing how the principles have been applied with success in a variety of organisations and environments.

This is a short but very insightful book which sets out to inspire new thinking. As with all such books it is launched into a world that craves answers, and given that 2/3 of its content describes case studies, it’s warnings that these should be used only as inspiration, may not be heeded by many.

The shift in thinking it describes is both subtle and profound, and one that if understood can lead to powerful insights.

It is a worthy compliment to Creativity Today, whose readers should perhaps make a note to return to these final thirty pages periodically as they apply the creativity process.

In combination these two-books-in-one are highly recommended as both a grounding in creativity and a pointer to the adventures that may follow.

Steve Unwin
February 2008