Campus Author: R. Keith Sawyer, Ph.D., associate professor of education

Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration

Perseus Books Group (2007)

In his latest book, R. Keith Sawyer, Ph.D., one of the country’s leading scientific experts on creativity, argues that collaboration is essential in helping us all harness the power of our own creative genius.

“Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration” is the most recent work from Sawyer, an associate professor of education and of psychology, both in Arts & Sciences.

“I wrote ‘Group Genius’ because there is a lot of exciting research coming out of the laboratories about creativity and innovation that hasn’t yet made it to the general public,” Sawyer said. “This research is focused on being more creative in your personal life and also on how to make organizations more innovative, something businesses today are very interested in.”

Sawyer, who routinely speaks to business leaders throughout the country on creativity and innovation, said the book is aimed not only at business managers but also at “just about everyone who is interested in being more creative in all facets of their life.”

He explained that “Group Genius” features two main messages. “First is that the psychology of creativity shows creativity to be based in everyday brain processes that all of us use all the time,” Sawyer said. “Everybody has the potential for exceptional creativity. It’s not the case that creative people are unique geniuses who are different from everyone else.”

The second message is the power of collaboration in becoming more creative. “That’s why I decided to call it ‘Group Genius,'” said Sawyer, who also is the author of “Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation.”

“In my research, I’ve found that people are always more creative in a collaborative group of a certain kind,” Sawyer said. “They are more creative when they work in organizations that bring everyone’s creativity together.”