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Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire

by Bruce Nussbaum

Pub Date: March 15th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0062088420
Publisher: Harper Business

Former BusinessWeek assistant managing editor Nussbaum (Innovation and Design/Parson School of Design; Good Intentions: How Big Business and the Medical Establishment Are Corrupting the Fight Against Aids, 1990, etc.) makes the case that the future of American capitalism lies in unleashing creativity.

The author believes that students can be trained to become creative and that it is a skill that can be assessed. He combines lessons from the “personal growth movement of the 1960s and ’70s” and observations about how successful enterprises harness creativity and team effort (e.g., Google, Apple and Facebook). Nussbaum also proposes supplementing the standard IQ measure with what he calls a creativity quotient. In the author's view, today's dominant model of capitalism, based on the hegemony of “efficient market theory” (which makes short-term profit the main criteria for investment), was responsible for the recent recession and has “taken a devastating toll on innovation.” The author compares this to the period from 1933 to 1976, “a time when business leaders were responsible not simply to shareholders, but to many stakeholders.” The author believes that in order to compete globally, American business must pick up from the 1990s, when U.S. global hegemony was based on the inventiveness of Silicon Valley and futurists predicted major advances in biotechnology and nanotechnology. He offers a radical model for investment in technology startups based on local sources of financing and the possibilities of broad-based online social networking. Such an economy would embrace risk-taking, see uncertainty as opportunity and require minimal government intervention. Education would be transformed to emphasize hands-on creative activity, and students would be encouraged to wed ideas to their implementation.

An intriguing mixture of challenging ideas and Utopian solutions to the broader issues regarding social welfare currently under debate.