Academy of Applied Science
From time to time, there will be reviews in SPARKS of topical books relating in some way to the activities of the Academy. Bearing in mind that the fundamental aims of the Academy are to encourage and protect innovation and creativity, the selection of books will largely depend on the manner in which a wide variety of authors tackle these subjects.
by Lynne C. Levesque
Davies-Black Publishing Co. 267 pages.
June 2001. $18.86 Hardcover.
In a perceptive Foreword to this book, Dr. Andrew J. Kaslow, a senior vice-president at AOL Time Warner, notes that "the radical transformation of contemporary life is unintentionally conferring a competitive advantage on individuals and institutions that embrace change, encourage innovation and exhibit flexibility. [Increasingly] organizations with creative leadership are emerging as successful survivors in this new world of rapid and discontinuous shifts in industry and society."
His comments are an appropriate introduction to a book in which creativity is constructively analyzed. It is largely based on the philosophy of Carl Jung. The first chapter begins with a quotation from Jung, to the effect that humans have "the distinctive power of creating something new in the real sense of the word, just as nature, in the course of long periods of time, succeeds in creating new forms." The author distinguishes eight different qualities or aspects of the human personality, which contribute to effective
Of these eight categories, the first is that of the adventurer who enjoys experimenting with clever improvisations and skillful adaptations to solve challenges. The second is the navigator who, by keeping the logs, planning out the voyage and building on past knowledge, enables the discoveries to be made and practical adaptations of what others have already done. The third is the explorer who journeys to find new lands and discover new groups. The fourth is the visionary who has a bold, heroic mind and far-reaching imagination; visionaries are passionate for grand, uncommon ideals. The fifth is the pilot who steers the ship through difficult waters and develops strategies to guide it toward new lands. The sixth is the inventor who provides the tools and insights leading to the reframing of problems and the discovery of new solutions. The seventh is the harmonizer who channels the efforts of his crew as they pursue new directions and creative solutions. The eighth is the poet who keeps alive the vision and purpose of the voyage and keeps the crews' spirits buoyed.
These are imaginative concepts, and, while there are few individuals who possess more than one of the qualities described by the author in this book, everyone has at least one of the qualities or at least the potential to display them. The art is to identify and bring out the potential in every individual.
Many mental and intellectual techniques can lead to this end.
One of them is the process of lateral thinking. The author contributes many of her own techniques, and the book ends with a practical series of suggestions for the personal development of creative talents. As the final quotation in the book points out-and this is from J. Robert Oppenheimer -"Discovery follows discovery, each based on raising and answering questions, each ending a long search and each providing the new instruments for renewed search." This is a stimulating and resourceful book.
Reviewer: Bryan Harris, Chairman of the Research Committee