Juicing the Orange.

Author:Bayer, Shon
 
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Juicing the Orange, by Pat Fallon and Fred Seen, Book, 2006, Harvard Business School Press, $26.95.

Creativity. A casual scan of the headlines in the business press can give you the impression that creativity is a newly invented elixir of hope for American businesses, a panacea of competitive advantage in a ruthless marketplace.

Hyperbole aside, many thought leaders point to creativity, innovation, and its practitioners--a group chronicled by Richard Florida in the landmark Rise of the Creative Class--as driving today's and tomorrow's economy.

According to Florida, nearly 30% of America's workforce is made up of creative practitioners--entrepreneurs, designers, engineers, artists--and account for 50% of the wages paid in the United States.

As industries and classes of professions are increasingly vulnerable to outsourcing and offshoring, creativity seems to be one of the magic bullets that, it is hoped, will ensure America's continued success in the global economy. Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric, a company that has a public persona as conservative, was recently quoted as saying, "Creativity and imagination applied in a business context is innovation."

Creativity: tricky thing

However, creativity is a tricky thing. It can't really be measured like cycle time, customer satisfaction, or throughput can be. Organizations probably can't hire solely for creativity, either, because it's as much or more of a function of the culture of an organization than of any individual in it.

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And creativity is often somewhat feared within traditional button-down business cultures because it engenders risk, uncertainty, and a willingness to "herd cats."

Juicing the Orange: How to Turn Creativity into a Powerful Business Advantage endeavors to help organizations leverage the creativity that exists within them. The authors, Pat Fallon and Fred Senn, are founders of Fallon Worldwide, a Minneapolis-based advertising agency responsible for some of the most recognizable advertising campaigns over the last two decades. A blurb about the book says:

Too many companies think creativity means throwing money into marketing efforts and giving lip service to "out of the box" thinking. But such efforts rarely have a positive impact on the bottom line. Pat Fallon and Fred Senn argue that leaders have more creativity within their organizations than they realize--but they inadvertently stifle it or channel it in ineffective ways. But does the book...

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