Weird Ideas That Work: How to Build a Creative Company

By Robert I Sutton
A breakthrough in management thinking, "weird ideas" can help every organization achieve a balance between sustaining performance and fostering new ideas. To succeed, you need to be both conventional and counterintuitive.

Creativity, new ideas, innovation--in any age they are keys to success. Yet, as Stanford professor Robert Sutton explains, the standard rules of business behavior and management are precisely the opposite of what it takes to build an innovative company. We are told to hire people who will fit in; to train them extensively; and to work to instill a corporate culture in every employee. In fact, in order to foster creativity, we should hire misfits, goad them to fight, and pay them to defy convention and undermine the prevailing culture. Weird Ideas That Work codifies these and other proven counterintuitive ideas to help you turn your workplace from staid and safe to wild and woolly--and creative.

In Weird Ideas That Work Sutton draws on extensive research in behavioral psychology to explain how innovation can be fostered in hiring, managing, and motivating people; building teams; making decisions; and interacting with outsiders. Business practices like "hire people who make you uncomfortable" and "reward success and failure, but punish inaction," strike many managers as strange or even downright wrong. Yet Weird Ideas That Work shows how some of the best teams and companies use these and other counterintuitive practices to crank out new ideas, and it demonstrates that every company can reap sales and profits from such creativity.

Weird Ideas That Work is filled with examples, drawn from hi- and low-tech industries, manufacturing and services, information and products. More than just a set of bizarre suggestions, it represents a breakthrough in management thinking: Sutton shows that the practices we need to sustain performance are in constant tension with those that foster new ideas. The trick is to choose the right balance between conventional and "weird"--and now, thanks to Robert Sutton's work, we have the tools we need to do so.


NEWS & OPINION: The good teacher named Failure.

Posted October 28, 2008, 6:08 PM with category of Innovation & Creativity
One of example of failure Bob Sutton mentions in Weird Ideas That Work is that of IDEO's invention process, specifically Skyline, a toy development department. This week he ran across a another organization's failure rate. That of, The Onion's. Read more

STAFF PICKS: A "Weird Idea that Works"

Posted July 10, 2007, 1:00 PM with category of Personal Development & Human Behavior
This brief excerpt reminded me quite a bit of the discussions we have here at 800-CEO-READ. (From Chapter 8 of Weird Ideas that Work by Robert I. Sutton) Find Some Happy People and Get Them to Fight (Weird Idea #5) If you want innovation, you need happy warriors, upbeat people who know the right way to fight. Read more

NEWS & OPINION: Take 'em to the beach.

Posted June 19, 2007, 2:25 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
If you're looking for a paperback to peruse on the beach, BusinessWeek suggests: The Poker Face of Wall Street by Aaron Brown (due out late July) -- how gambling fits in with finance. The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences by Louis Uchitelle -- the ugly side of layoffs. Mr. Read more

JACK COVERT SELECTS: Jack Covert Selects - Weird Ideas That Work

Posted June 15, 2007, 1:00 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
Weird Ideas That Work: How To Build a Creative Company by Robert I. Sutton, Free Press, 240 pages, $14. 00 Paperback, May 2007, ISBN 9780743227889. Read more

NEWS & OPINION: Design Thinking Books

Posted February 28, 2005, 11:15 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
We've started an interesting discussion about design books on this blog, and as the design thinker on the 800-CEO-READ Blog crew, I would like to add some fuel to the fire, as it were. I teach a graduate-level class at Stanford's Institute for Design (aka the "d. school"). Read more


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About the Paperback

Publisher Free Press
Publish date 05/15/2007
Pages 232
ISBN-13 9780743227889
ISBN-10 0743227883
Language English

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