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Creativity And Innovation

On yesterday’s episode of Smashing The Plateau, Suzanne Fetscher and Sheila Mullen discussed how business leaders can harness the power of creativity and innovation.

Here are some of their biggest influences:


1) Daniel Pink

His book, A Whole New Mind, is an argument for the importance of right brain thinking and creative capacity for everybody, and that more and more leaders of companies and organizations have identified this as one of the key strengths that leaders will require in the future. He was the one who identified a specific trend – leaders seeking out graduates of MFA programs in fine art because they are so creative and innovative.

2) Richard Florida

Wrote a book called The Rise of The Creative Class, and he was a research fellow at Carnegie Mellon, and he studied why corporate headquarters were moving. Why were they moving their headquarters to places like Austin or San Francisco? He discovered they were forced to go where the creative talent is living!

3) Steve Jobs

He is considered an artist first and foremost, and he saw the link between innovation and creativity. You can’t get to innovation without going through creativity. A lot of times businesses think that creativity is too messy, but you have to go through all that messiness to get to innovation. Innovation is ultimately applied creativity.

4) David Whyte

He has an emphasis on the human side of leadership.

5) Doris Leeper and Ed Shelton

They were also influential for me.


1) Michael Arena, PhD

He was my professor at Queen’s University of Charlotte in my Masters of Organizational Development. He specializes in applying hard science to soft skills, with a focus in such areas as organizational networks, people analytics and creativity and innovation management. He opened my eyes to extraordinary and exceptional human potential being created by social media and how this talent was changing large organizations. Fascinating!

2) Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All

This book by Tom Kelley and David Kelley is the best argument on why creativity is not only necessary, but also an imperative skill in 21st Century leaders. They must develop it in order to be successful leaders in a dynamic, and yet to be determined future.

3) The Creative Habit

Twyla Tharp’s book taught me about the artist’s mindset, behavior, disciplines and practices needed to foster true creative processes and original thinking. Coming from technology, I assumed artists were sprinkled with fairy dust and sent to earth to be Picasso. What I learned is how hard artists work at their profession, and how courageous and brave they are to go against the status quo to create something new.

4) Brian Knep

He has an integration of art and science. He was the first artist-in-residence at Harvard Medical School, working side-by-side with scientists, using their tools and techniques to explore alternative meanings and ways of connecting to the world.

5) Elaine Migchelbrink

Elaine was the most extraordinary, creative and innovative educator in my life. She taught me in 5th and 6th grade, and we have been lifelong friends. The two biggest concepts she taught me were the difference between being the “sage on the stage or the guide on the side” and “is this your best work?”


About the author, David Shriner-Cahn

David is the podcast host and community builder behind Smashing the Plateau, an online platform offering resources, accountability, and camaraderie to high-performing professionals who are making the leap from the corporate career track to entrepreneurial business ownership.

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