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Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity

January 18, 2013 on 2:35 pm | In Dream Types | 3 Comments

A 5-part process that will transform your organization — or your career — into a non-stop creativity juggernaut

We live in an era when business cycles are measured in months, not years. The only way to sustain long term innovation and growth is through creativity-at all levels of an organization. Disciplined Dreaming shows you how to create profitable new ideas, empower all your employees to be creative, and sustain your competitive advantage over the long term. Linkner distills his years of experience in business and jazz — as well as hundreds of interviews with CEOs, entrepreneurs, and artists — into a 5-step process that will make creativity easy for you and your organization. The methodology is simple, backed by proven results.

  • Empowers individuals, teams, and organizations to meet creative challenges posed by the marketplace
  • Turns the mystery of creativity into a simple-to-use process
  • Shows how creativity can be used for everything from innovative, game-shifting breakthroughs to incremental advances and daily improvements to business processes
  • Offers dozens of practical exercises, thought-starters, workouts to grow “creative muscles,” and case studies

Disciplined Dreaming shows even the stuffiest corporate bureaucracies how to cultivate creativity in order to become more competitive in today’s shifting marketplace.

#8 New York Times Bestseller (Hardcover Business)

#2 Wall Street Journal Bestseller (Hardcover Business)

#9 Wall Street Journal Bestseller (Hardcover Nonfiction)

#9 Washington Post Bestseller (Nonfiction Hardcover)

#1 USA Today Bestseller (Money)

#10 Publishers Weekly Bestseller (Nonfiction)

Q&A with Author Josh Linkner

Author Josh Linkner

Why is creativity in the workplace so important?
The world has dramatically changed in the last few years, and many of the competitive advantages of the past have become commoditized. With increased complexity, dizzying speed, and ruthless competition now commonplace in business, creativity and innovation have become the only true sustainable competitive advantage. Creativity is the one thing you can’t outsource. It’s the difference between game-changing companies and also-rans. Individuals may get hired based on their resumes, but they get promoted and succeed based on their creativity. Creativity has become the currency of success in the new era of business, and life.

What is Disciplined Dreaming?
Disciplined Dreaming is a five-part system to build, nurture, and manage creativity. It is based on my experience as a four-time entrepreneur, jazz musician, and venture capitalist, plus personal interviews I conducted with over 200 thought leaders–CEOs, entrepreneurs, artists, billionaires, nonprofit leaders. I developed Disciplined Dreaming by distilling the collective wisdom of this amazing group into a simple, easy-to-follow process that you can put to use immediately to drive your own creativity.

An accomplished musician yourself, you compare creative riffs at work to jazz improvisation. How do the two relate?
In jazz, 99 percent of the notes are improvised. Spontaneous creativity. However, that 1 percent that’s on the written page is incredibly important. It provides musicians with a framework to direct and enhance their creativity. Disciplined Dreaming is the business-world equivalent to that 1 percent. It provides a structure that enables creativity. In addition, jazz musicians use specific patterns and techniques as building blocks of innovation. I’ve been able to translate many of those concepts into the language of business, and I show readers how to inject them into their daily lives. These “riffs” can be applied to creative challenges of all sizes, and they help support the creative process.

How can you start working creativity muscles with a team that has grown stagnant?
The biggest inhibitor of creativity isn’t human potential, it is fear. While we enter the world with limitless creativity, our schools, organizations, and bureaucracies beat it out of us. We are so worried about saying the wrong thing, looking foolish, or having to take responsibility for a new idea that we govern our own imagination. Too often, corporate cultures stifle their most valuable natural resource—fresh ideas. This can be quickly fixed through using techniques in the book that deal with preparing your culture, physical environment, and mind-set to drive maximum creative output. Disciplined Dreaming includes new brainstorming techniques such as “RoleStorming,” “The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup,” and “Stick-it-to-the-man,” which will get your creative muscles in shape in no time.

Product Features

  • New York Times Bestseller
  • Top Ten Business Book of 2011 by Amazon.com
  • Harold A. Longman Award as the #1 best business book of the year
  • Wall St. Journal Bestseller
  • USA Today Bestseller

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  1. Systematic Creativity This book was sent to me for review. The title is particularly apt. Linkner encourages dreaming but the emphasis is on discipline. Unlike many authors, he actually shows how to integrate creativity into a corporate setting, even one that has a buttoned-up culture.For the most part I enjoyed reading the book. I would recommend it especially as a book to give someone who either is a senior executive or who owns a business. All books on creativity face this challenge. Most organizations (deep down inside) don’t value creativity; they just give it a lot of lip service. Unless you’re in a position to be a change agent without losing your career, you may just get frustrated with unexplored possibilities.The book makes a convincing argument for why we need creativity in business today and why we need to care. Hopefully this section will give readers some ammunition to make a case to their higher-ups.Linkner is a good writer who illustrates each point with vivid examples. He gives particularly detailed explanations of creativity briefs, which will be a good way for companies to introduce these ideas in the corporate framework.The best parts of the book were the questions he uses to encourage readers to open their minds. I particularly liked Chapter 4, which proposes a series of exercises and ends with a section on developing your creativity chops. The meat loaf story (which most of us will recognize at once) and the cosmetic color story were fun to read and made the point. We also can benefit from taking classes that bring out our creativity, such as art classes or improv acting.I think it’s important to add that you need a strong sense of your market before applying any innovation, creative or otherwise. When innovations work well and are embraced by a market the effect seems magical. Starbucks and Zipcar are great examples. However, I think it’s all too easy to ignore an innovative idea and dismiss it because we’re sure the market isn’t ready, nobody else is doing it, and our business consultants shake their heads firmly. I for one plan to try the exercise “Do the opposite.”

    Comment by Dr Cathy Goodwin — January 18, 2013 #

  2. Dreaming on “the other side of complexity” The title of this book refers to what its subtitle promises to provide: “a proven system to drive breakthrough creativity,” one that requires highly-developed mental and emotional discipline. Josh Linkner introduces a methodology, a five-step process, that he calls “Disciplined Dreaming.” He interviewed more than 200 people whose creativity has driven their success. What he learned is shared in this book. After making the case for creativity in the first chapter and then explaining the Disciplined Dreaming system, Linkner organizes his material within a sequence of five steps: Ask (Chapters 3&4), Prepare (5&6), Discover (7), Ignite (8&9), and then Launch (Chapter 10). He adds an Epilogue, followed by two appendices. In the first, he invalidates “six common myths that inhibit creativity”; in the second, he provides “Additional Warm-Up Exercises to Jump Star Creativity.”Back to Disciplined Dreaming. Consider the differences between (a) allowing your mind to wander aimlessly and (b) filling your mind with a wealth of information relevant to answering a question or solving a problem and then allowing it to absorb and digest the information. I call the latter “mulling” and it can either be active and aggressive or passive and patient. During the course of his narrative, Linkner explains how too Define a “creativity challenge” (e.g. answering an important question, solving a serious problem or taking full advantage of a major opportunity)o Prepare (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and environmentally) for the process by which to create or reveal a correct answer or effective solutiono Discover various “avenues” by which to reach that answer or solutiono Ignite forces (i.e. “juices”) with various techniques to generate an abundance of creative ideaso Launch the process by which to realize (literally, to make a reality of) each of the best ideas within a framework provided in Chapter Ten.Those who are curious to know the nature and extent of their readiness to embark on Disciplined Dreaming process will be delighted to know that Linkner includes “Building Your Creativity Chops: The Self-Assessment” on Pages 31-38, an exercise that includes detailed explanations of what the results indicate. I also commend him on his eloquent as well as rigorous examination of immensely complicated issues associated with terms such as creativity, innovation, co-creation, integrative thinking, and inspiration. Whenever possible, he anchors information, insights, and even recommendations in a real-world context with which most readers can identify.Readers will also appreciate what he calls “The Eight Commandments of Ideation” (Pages 164-166) as well as the aforementioned invalidation of “six common myths that inhibit creativity” and “Additional Warm-Up Exercises to Jump Star Creativity” in the two appendices. Josh Linkner brilliantly integrates what he learned from more than 200 interviews with what he has learned his own observations and (yes) disciplined dreaming. He has prepared his reader well for a journey only the reader can take. I join with him in expressing “Bon voyage!” to those who embark on it.* * *Note: I wish to acknowledge my debt to Oliver Wendell Holmes who inspired the title of my review. Long ago, he observed, “I would not give a fig for simplicity this side of complexity but I would give my life for simplicity on the other side of complexity.”

    Comment by Robert Morris — January 18, 2013 #

  3. For a specific readership First let me note I tend to dislike titles that have ‘Dream’ in them. Disciplined Thinking would have been a better title. More mature and leadership mode.And I agree 100% with reviewer Dr Cathy Goodwin from Seattle who wrote ‘For the most part I enjoyed reading the book. I would recommend it especially as a book to give someone who either is a senior executive or who owns a business. All books on creativity face this challenge. Most organizations (deep down inside) don’t value creativity; they just give it a lot of lip service. Unless you’re in a position to be a change agent without losing your career, you may just get frustrated with unexplored possibilities.’Unless you are in a position to actually put the ideas in this book in play, there is little useful information that can be used. For the individual, Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want And Getting It by Henriette Anne Klauser PhD is a book I would highly recommend because it helps change how you think, or how to focus and know the difference between just wanting something and knowing specifically what it is you want or need and then getting it.Sometimes you the underling need to change how you do things in order to help effect change in others and especially in groups of people. Its why we have more followers than we have leaders.

    Comment by MotherLodeBeth "MotherLodeBeth" — January 18, 2013 #

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