Creativity Myths Told

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 10:57am
David Burkus reveals creativity myths

Oklahoma City (July 21, 2014) - When you come across a book titled "The Myths of Creativity," you pause and ponder. Creativity is such a puzzlement word, brining to mind edgy or way-out or imagined happenings. David Burkus, author of the book, said he tells the truth about how innovative companies and people generate great ideas, during his speech to the International Association of Business Communicators. Laura Wheeler is president of the group.

"We don't need any more new ideas," Burkus said. "We need to recognize the ones we have," referring to the honest truth that many times people shrug off great ideas the first time around.

Burkus offers three mistaken ideas that stunt innovative thinking:

  • The Eureka Myth: New ideas come from hard work, not a quick spark.
  • The Lone Creator Myth: Creativity takes well-conceived teamwork, not a single person's genius.
  • The Mousetrap Myth: No innovation is brilliant enough to sell itself, and a great idea isn't the end of the process, but the beginning.

By debunking these - and other - widespread misconceptions, Burkus shows how to embrace a real, practical approach to finding the best new ideas, projects, processes and programs. He doesn't make you feel like an idiot because an idea you submit is shunned. Maybe it's just before its time; don't toss it away.

Back in the days when I covered fashions - for men as well as women - a designer brought out for men special outfits to be worn by bicyclers. As I said to a fashion expert next to me, "Men aren't going to put on those spandex-like pants and shirts - or those funny hard hats." Gosh, was I ever wrong. Not only have men jumped into colorful, close-fitting biking outfits, so have women.

We all have ideas about something - anything - and sometimes they are denied. Follow his idea: Save them for another time when folks around may cheer you for such a creative idea. He made me wish I'd written down some of my great ideas, several involving fundraising events. Maybe they'd be considered creative in this century.

Founder and editor of LDRLB, an online publication that shares insights from research on leadership, innovation and strategy, Burkus is assistant professor of management at Oral Roberts University. He is a regular columnist for 99U and The Creativity Post. He can be reached at For more on LDRLB, visit