Summary of Unlocking Creativity

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Unlocking Creativity book summary

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


Michael A. Roberto’s useful analysis tells leaders how to support their employees’ creative talents. He identifies six mind-sets that block innovation. He explains their impact in terms of social science research using practices from such firms as Apple and Trader Joe’s plus examples from media, sports and the arts. Roberto shows leaders how to overcome these obstacles, create an open environment and stimulate employees’ creativity by encouraging them to explore new ways to work.

About the Author

Michael A. Roberto, PhD, is the Trustee Professor of Management at Bryant University. He also wrote Why Great Leaders Don’t Take Yes for an Answer and Know What You Don’t Know.


Leaders and organizations claim to value creativity, but they often harbor biases and perpetuate environments that discourage new ideas.

Established leaders and experts frequently fail to recognize the merit of out-of-the-box or innovative ideas. Their expertise and success often leads them to devalue novice or outsider contributions. Organizations tend to value concrete, measurable outcomes over creativity, and their employees may not want to be seen as nonconforming thinkers.

Leaders can cultivate employee creativity by overcoming “six mind-sets” – beliefs that discourage employee capabilities.

Leaders may not realize that their company's underlying attitudes and practices block creativity or that its work environment stifles its most brilliant minds. However, they must acknowledge that they have a “situation problem” and not a “people problem.”

To remedy the situation problem, leaders must overcome six mind-sets that oppress creative thinking:

One: “The Linear Mind-Set” believes success comes from using sequential, stepwise processes, but iterative, exploratory methods better foster innovation...

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