After my last attempt at Book reviews,I’m trying to keep these a little shorter. Next on my reading list was Conceptual Blockbusting: A Guide to Better Ideas by James L Adams. Readers will learn about ways we can become more creative by “busting” conceptual blocks in our thinking. This book is on it’s fourth edition, and has been polished to present some great research and writing. The book focuses on developing new and creative ideas and grows from the individual thought process to groups and organizations. I’ll glance at each group below.
The majority of the book is dedicated to how individuals can overcome their conceptual blocks and form new creative ideas. Some of the “blocks” identified included perception, emotional, cultural, educational, and social. The book contains many exercises that help illuminate exactly what the author is trying to teach us. Addressing some of these, like perception or education can be quite an intellectual exercise. However, some of the others like culture or emotion require some real soul searching, and in my case, identifying new areas where focused development is required.
The author also reviews several techniques for for breaking through including breaking sets, different problem solving languages, brainstorming and more. These techniques have proven valuable to me just weeks after reading the book.
This portion of the book looks at how creativity and problem solving changes when we add more people. I think this is a very important section as we work in groups not only at work, but also at home, playing sports, volunteering, at church and more.
This is the shortest portion of the book and not the most relevant for people looking to change their own thinking processes. However, Mr Adams does discuss the factors inside an organization that can help nurture a creative environment or stifle it. These form excellent guidelines for managers looking to create this type of environment or potential employees trying to decide if the firm is right for them.
In conclusion, this book has provided me with valuable insights into my own thinking as well as improving my problem solving with others. The chapters are short and digestible, and I suggest you put the book down several times while you are reading it to maximize the value of the exercises contained within.