Business Playground: Where Creativity and Commerce Collide, The (Voices That Matter)

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9780321720580: Business Playground: Where Creativity and Commerce Collide, The (Voices That Matter)

Business Playground Where Creativity and Commerce Collide. New Riders, 2010.

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Product Description
The Business Playground is the definitive guide to creativity and innovation

Written by musician/entrepreneur Dave Stewart and branding expert Mark Simmons, The Business Playground offers a revealing look at what creativity is and how to apply it in business through an inspiring mix of scientific studies, anecdotes, high-profile interviews, and thought-provoking games that you can play alone or with your co-workers.

The Business Playground is not your average business book. Former Eurythmics band member Dave Stewart turns on his rock and roll charm with personal, inspirational stories from his own career as well as interviews with such innovative and influential thinkers as Mick Jagger, Microsoft’s Paul Allen, and Twitter’s Evan Williams. The legendary Sir Richard Branson makes a guest appearance as the author of the book’s foreword where he sets the tone for this quirky, fun, emminently useful guide to creative business thinking.

Whether you’re running a one-man show or heading up a multinational corporation, you’ll discover new techniques for finding and harnessing your creative abilities and putting them to work for your business in this entertaining book.

The Business Playground includes real-world examples of innovation in action, as well as substantial and practical techniques that you can use immediately to aid in creative thinking and problem solving. Play the games at the end of each chapter and you’ll learn how to:

  • Ask the right questions so you can find the right answers
  • Rediscover, train, and utilize your innate creative abilities
  • Conduct “the perfect brainstorm”—yes, such a thing really does exist
  • Create a work culture that’s conducive to creativity
  • Help people collaborate with others within and outside of the organization
  • Kill ideas that aren’t working before they waste too much time and too many resources
In his foreword Sir Richard Branson says, “Dave and Mark’s enthusiasm for creativity and how it can be applied in business leaps off every page. The Business Playground will bring out the creative child inside all of us and I can’t imagine many readers being left uninspired to try it out for themselves. Their mix of insights about creativity, revealing examples, anecdotes, interviews with creative thinkers, and games make for an entertaining and informative read. If you get half as much out of this book as I did, you’re in for quite a treat.”


Play a Game From The Business Playground

Click to download the game board [PDF]

How it works: Working out the right business problem to solve is a bit like putting a band together. It takes patience and practice, but when you get it right you can make some sweet, sweet music. If you ask a question like How do we sell more of our music? for instance, you'll likely end up with a very different answer compared to one like How do we make money from our music? The first one assumes that selling music is the best way to make money from selling music, but the second one doesn't.

How to play: Players start by writing down a business problem as a question starting with: How do we...? They then ask themselves a series of questions about the problem to get it to a more insightful version. The end result should be simple and clear. (As German abstract expressionist painter, Hans Hoffman, said: "The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." He could have just said keep it simple stupid instead, but oh well never mind.) Players move down each step by throwing a die and, depending on the number that comes up, asking themselves a different question about the problem they're trying to solve:

1 = HOW?
2 = WHY?
3 = WHICH?
4 = WHEN?
5 = WHO?
6 = WHAT?

Example: Say you have a band and your problem is "How can we sell more music?" You throw a 6, a WHAT question, and so ask yourself "What are the barriers to selling more music? You come up with a few answers such as: fewer people are buying music nowadays; the economy stinks; not enough people know about us; or, our music isn't any good. Next you throw a 2 and so you ask yourself "WHY are people spending less on buying music?" Your answer is that people can get it for free online. Now you throw a 4 and ask yourself "WHEN do people spend money on music?" The answers might be when they buy special editions with all sorts of extra content or when they're seeing live gigs. Next you throw a 1 and choose to rephrase the problem as "HOW do we make the stuff we sell better than what people can get for free?" Now you throw a 5 and ask yourself "WHO is that pays to get extra content when they can get the music for free elsewhere?" Your answer might be die-hard fans.

And so on. When we hit the last space we can write up the problem in a new way, using the insights gathered throughout the game. It might be something like "How can we make our music releases special enough that die hard fans will pay good money to buy it?" Now that's a more tangible problem to crack.



About the Author:

Dave Stewart is  founder and chairman  of Weapons of Mass Entertainment, an idea  factory described by  the LA Times as 'a media  company for the new world’. A multimedia entrepreneur,  his career spans more than 25 years and over  100 million album sales. As well as being one half of Eurythmics with Annie Lennox, Stewart has  worked with some of the best including Bono,  Mick Jagger, Gwen Stefani, Sinead O’Connor,  Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, winning best  songwriter and best producer 4 times as well  as numerous Grammy and Life Time Achievement  Awards. Described by Dylan as ‘a fearless  innovator’, Stewart was recently named one of  the 100 Most Creative People in Business  by Fast Company Magazine. Stewart is  an acclaimed public speaker and regularly  advises businesses on creativity and  innovation. He is a key advisor to  mobile phone giant Nokia, where he has the  unique title of ‘change agent’, and has  created a number of  game-changing ventures in the  entertainment industry. Stewart is an  accomplished photographer and filmmaker, and  also makes a mean vodka martini.

Mark Simmons is a branding expert, innovator and the co-author of Punk Marketing: Get Off Your Ass and Join the Revolution. Over the past twenty years he has been a senior global marketer at Coca-Cola, run advertising agencies in the UK and US, been an adviser to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, and is the co-founder of useless.org, a social enterprise dedicated to helping people use less and give more. Mark frequently speaks at conferences about creativity, marketing and branding. He passionately believes in the power of ideas to make a positive difference in business and society and works with organizations around the world to put this into practice. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markjcsimmons.

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