Managing Creative People: Lessons in Leadership for the Ideas Economy / Edition 1

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The extraordinary growth of creative businesses, such as film, video games, music, broadcasting, publishing and advertising, has shifted the traditional focus of management from the organization of skills and resources to the mysterious art of mining the imagination. Now the glacial predictability of corporate process has come up against the notorious unpredictability of the creative temperament, and business leaders are confronted with challenging paradox of managing the unmanageable.

The resulting clash between control and creativity, between measurement and the immeasurable, between the ideology of growth and the growth of ideas, is exacerbated by the myths and misunderstandings that hamper our quest for innovation and originality.

Drawing from the leading lights of creativity research and a lifetime of experience in creative businesses, Gordon Torr takes a scalpel to the institutionalized idiocy that is stifling the generation of ideas in today’s corporations.

The curse of the brainstorm, the commoditisation of creative talent, the deskilling of the imagination, the startling inadequacies of management theory – these and other horrors of idea-assassination are dissected and disembowelled in this cutting expose of the drama that unfolds every time a new idea slides across the boardroom table.

This is a fascinating, original and provocative book. As creative skills become increasingly critical to economic growth, a better understanding of how to manage these skills is essential. Torr digs deep in his exploration, dispelling popular myths, revealing new insights and clarifying the messy and muddled thinking about creative people and creative processes.” —Judie Lannon, Editor Market Leader

"... a scholarly (and timely) appraisal of the genesis of ideas, from a practising creative professional. ... a great deal of nonsense is at last debunked, and a great deal of sound advice – some of it counterintuitive – is conveyed." —Derek Day, author of Creating Passion Brands

“ power-chugging a gallon of emotional caffeine...” —Dennis Ryan, Chief Creative Officer, Element 79, Chicago

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"a breath of fresh air". (Financial Times, Thursday 10th April 2008)


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470726457
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/2/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 318
  • Sales rank: 414,130
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Artist, journalist and musician, Gordon Torr has lived and worked in South Africa, Mexico and the UK. He was Creative Director of one of the world’s biggest advertising agencies before launching his consultancy, The Unfactory, which specialises in the organization and management of creative sector companies.

Cover design by Dennis Field

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Table of Contents




1. The Day the World Ran out of Ideas.

2. The Problem with Creative People.

3. Two Guys in a Garage.

4. 21st Century Snake-Oil.

5. The Biology of Inspiration.

6. The Creative Personality.

7. The Survival of the Weirdest.

8. Towards a Formula for Genius.

9. The Barbel and the Breadboard.


Introduction to Part II.

10. The Muse’s Ransom.

11. Poison in the Water-Cooler.

12. Podsnaps and Ponytails.

13. Structures and Strictures.

14. Place Matters.

15. The Road to Exit Five.

16. The Maze.

17. The Guardians of the Maze.

18. The New Patronage.


Further Reading List.


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