Episode 179 – Creative Thinking with Chris Griffiths

‘Today, if you always do what you’ve always done, even if you do it faster, you’re going to get left way behind… it’s not knowledge that’s power and it’s not even the use of knowledge that’s power: it’s the creation of new knowledge that actually leads to something different.’

Chris GriffithsAs children we are naturally, unselfconsciously creative, but by the time we start work most of us have put ourselves into a box and find it almost impossible to think outside it. Chris Griffiths, founder of OpenGenius, is on a mission to help us rediscover our innovation mojo. 

The Creative Thinking Handbook is part of that mission, setting out a process (‘innovation isn’t an event, it’s a process and any process needs structure’). But in this conversation Chris reveals the creative process behind the writing of that book – we discuss the interplay of writing and visualisation, the mechanics of collaboration, and the role of technology, from paper and post-its to mind-mapping software. 

A brilliantly practical and thoughtful discussion about thinking, writing and creating something new and worthwhile. 


LINKS:

OpenGenius: https://opengenius.com/

The Creative Thinking Handbook: https://www.koganpage.com/product/the-creative-thinking-handbook-9780749484668

Chris on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GriffithsThinks

Alison on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bookstothesky

The Extraordinary Business Book Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447064765612358/

This Book Means Business – the mentorship programme: https://alisonjones.lpages.co/this-book-means-business-mentorship/

The Extraordinary Business Book Club Summer Reading List 2019: https://alisonjones.com/the-extraordinary-business-book-club-summer-reading-list-2019/

Alison Jones:      Hello and welcome to the Extraordinary Business Book Club. I’m here today with Chris Griffiths who’s the founder and CEO of OpenGenius, a pioneer in combining creative thinking strategies with technology to enhance productivity, and is behind the iMind map and Droptask [now Ayoa] apps, which are used by over 2 million people worldwide. And along with his wife Gail, he’s on a mission to promote innovation and entrepreneurial thinking from the grass roots up through the inspired Genius Foundation with over 28 years’ experience in setting up and leading successful businesses. He sold his first company the age of 26, which is a bit depressing for those of us who are past that. He’s also a best-selling author on creativity and innovative thinking skills. And his latest book with Melina Costi is The Creative Thinking Handbook: Your step-by-step guide to problem solving in business. Welcome to the show, Chris.

Chris Griffiths:   Thanks Alison. It’s great to be with you.

Alison Jones:      Now, innovation, creativity, you know, this is stuff, it’s not unpopulated as a field within business, right? Did you have that kind of, oh my goodness, I’ve got to write another book on creativity, how’s that going to go down and how are we going to make a difference? Did you have that kind of thinking?

Chris Griffiths:   No, not really. Not at all. I mean, innovation, creativity, it has always been a passion of mine. A lot of people see me as a tech guy because we have the apps. But actually the only reason the apps were created was to help promote innovation, help promote creativity. And actually now more than ever we need more awareness and knowledge around, well, what does it really mean to be creative and innovative? Because people throw the words around, but they don’t really understand that. And yes, it was something that I really wanted to write about because I feel there’s a long way to go in this field, and even though it is highly congested, I think what people are doing in terms of promoting good thinking skills is absolutely vital to all of us.

Alison Jones:      Yes. And that thing about problem-solving in business, I mean, that that was never more needed either. Was that, I know you’ve targeted in on that…

Chris Griffiths:   Yes, I think that was what we were seeing because, you know, everyone in business talks about innovation and they talk about being more creative, but they see innovation from a completely wrong perspective. They see innovation almost as an event. You know, we have to innovate today on this, but innovation isn’t an event, it’s a process and any process needs structure. And the whole point with The Creative Thinking Handbook was to say, okay, well let’s put some structure behind this. Let’s make innovation repeatable. To do that you need a series of steps, but simple steps. If you make it too complex, people aren’t going to do it. And that was really why we were focusing on that sort of business problem-solving perspective

Alison Jones:      And with your solution, find a process, which is what you use. Yes, absolutely. And it was interesting, you know, looking at it, I was very aware that you could read a book as an individual and you could take the learnings and you could start to think differently, which is reframe things and just, you know, challenge your assumptions and all that kind of stuff. You could also almost, from the box, use it as a team leader, as a process to work through with your team. And I’m guessing that was a very conscious decision as well.

Chris Griffiths:   Well, we’ve worked with a lot of team leaders and, and that’s where a lot of this has come from. I’ve been very lucky because I’ve worked with a lot of people around the world, going into organisations and facilitating their innovation programmes. They feed back what works and what doesn’t work to me. And what you tend to find is there’s always going to be a champion in an organisation that wants to drive innovation. And the fact that they want to drive it is a key part of it, but they don’t know what to do. So by allowing them just to have some simple steps that covers a lot of areas behind it, so you know, how to overcome cognitive biases is probably the most important point of having those steps in a certain order just makes it easy for them to lead a team and take them on the journey.

Alison Jones:      Yes. And it’s sort of ironic in a way, isn’t it? Because we’re teaching ourselves a process. But I love the point you made in the book. We’ve actually, it’s not that we learn creativity, it’s just that we have unlearned it during the course of our lives. That’s an amazing stat that NASA test with 98% of five-year-old schooling as scoring as highly creative down to 2% by the age of 25 is just astonishing.

Chris Griffiths:   It’s astonishing. But it’s not surprising. When I’m in front of audiences around the world and I ask them to put up their hands, if during their educational life they spent as many hours learning how to create, how to think and how to innovate as they did learning maths or English or whatever their primary language is, people obviously just look at me as if, ‘What’s he on about?’ and that’s the whole point. You see, within our educational system, it’s important because it gives knowledge to individuals. But what it doesn’t do is really give them the ability to think. And that sits above knowledge. I mean, knowledge is important. If you’ve got lots of knowledge on a subject, you’ve got lots of dots to join, but unless you know how to join those dots, you can’t create that something different, that’s something new. And you know, over time, as we grow up, our belief systems, our assumptions, what the external world is telling us, just starts to create a box. And that box is what keeps people thinking inside the box. Which is such a shame.

Alison Jones:      It is, isn’t it? And I mean there are wins to that as opposed to, I mean, I guess it’s not just the education system beating it out of us, although I guess there’s definitely an element of that. There’s also a sense that as you grow up, you build your own heuristics and you’re able to think faster and make better decisions most of the time. But the tradeoff for that is, as you say, this more constrained, less imaginative way of thinking about the world.

Chris Griffiths:   Absolutely. I mean, we couldn’t survive really without those heuristics. I mean, we’d have to think about everything we did. So having those sort of little computer programmes running in our brain, helping us to do basic things is very important. But the problem iis when they start to undermine our ability to think more creatively and objectively, without an understanding of that, uh, you just become almost a puppet to those issues. And, I mean, you, you joke about education, beating it out of this, but the educational system as it stands at the moment, is becoming more and more directed at, well, directed learning, which means that, um, if you try and be creative in your answers, you’re not going to do too well.

Chris Griffiths:   So it does in a way beat us, beat it out of us. It upsets me greatly because I think children, young adults, they have to learn how to fail and not be afraid of failure. Whereas nowadays it’s all about coming out of that system with as many A stars as you possibly can have. But that doesn’t really transfer into real life because you’re not going to be able to go into real life and have A stars all the way through your life. You know, you’re going to have a lot of A stars and you’re going to have a lot of unclassifieds and you have to learn how to deal with that.

Alison Jones:      But actually the skills that we need in the workforce aren’t the ability to get an A star in something that you’ve been taught by someone else’s ability to think differently and innovate isn’t it? I mean, that’s the big skills gap.

Chris Griffiths:   Well, the world has never been changing at such a rate as it is today. So, you know, people might say in the past that if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. But today, if you always do what you’ve always done, even if you do it faster, you’re going to get left way behind. So you’re absolutely right. What we need is for the younger generations to be coming into the workforce with an appreciation that it’s not the knowledge that is power and it’s not even the use of knowledge that’s power: it’s the creation of new knowledge that actually leads to something different, that leads to innovation. But unless they have the confidence and unless they’ve been taught how to do that, it becomes very difficult. And that’s what we’re really about as an organisation. Whether it’s through the books, whether it’s through the technology, whether it’s through our network of trainers. It’s about getting people to think a bit differently.

Alison Jones:      And what’s interesting of course is that the oddly – it sounds ironic – but having that model, having that process to go through is what enables you to unlock creativity. I do think that’s interesting because creativity is such in children, is such a spontaneous, unstructured thing. It’s odd that we have to give ourselves permission by following a process to do it properly as adults. Isn’t that fascinating?

Chris Griffiths:   It is because can you imagine just saying to a, a seven year old that’s playing with a cardboard box and that seven year old thinks that cardboard box is a bus, and you say to that seven year old, “It’s great that you’re thinking outside the box.” Well, that seven year old has no idea what the box is. That box can be anything that, that he or she wants it to be. It can be a rocket. It could be a bus. So they don’t have that box around their thinking. And interestingly, and hopefully this came across in the book, quite a lot of people focus on what you should do. We try and balance it out. We focus on what you should do, but actually sometimes knowing what you shouldn’t do is just as important because as we get older, I keep touching on this cognitive bias element as we get older because we are set in our ways of thinking, if we just become aware of those things and stop doing them, all of a sudden we can become more creative instantly. So it is a bit of balance there.

Alison Jones:      Yes. So that awareness as much as anything. And I want to talk to you as well about the writing of the book, which isn’t that we focus on quite a lot in this podcast because you co-wrote this with Melina. Just tell me how did that partnership come about and how did it work?

Chris Griffiths:   Well I’ve worked with Melina longer than I worked with anyone else. Melina and I have worked together for, gosh, probably 17 years now. How Melina and I got together is actually Melina ran my marketing department at a previous company that I founded, and she was employee number one at OpenGenius. She now works part time with me because she’s put family first. So she’s enjoying, enjoying life with her son as well. Melina was absolutely fundamental to helping me create The Creative Thinking Handbook and grasp the solution, which was my, which is my first book. We work very well as a team. We have very distinct strengths. Melina’s strengths is her ability to write.

In fact, I’ve, I’ve never worked with anyone that seems to be able to write like Melina can and her ability to challenge, her ability to help me find the research that goes behind there. So as, as a team it’s worked very well because I think for me, trying to do this on my own would take me not just twice as long, but much longer than that because obviously running an organisation which is a software organisation and a network of trainers around the world takes up a lot of my time. The way Melina and I work together has been very good because of course Melina can actually see a lot of my work being presented through videos of events that I’m holding, or training. She can also work with me in a specific way because we use our own mind mapping tools to create the books.

                                    And again, without, without the mind mapping – and it’s not just because we sell mind mapping – but mind mapping is such a brilliant tool for writing books.

Alison Jones:      Tell me a little bit more about that. How do you start? And presumably you start with, with the mind map and then just add in the text once you’ve got the structure. But I’d love to know how that works and particularly as you’re collaborating.

Chris Griffiths:   Yes, absolutely. Now, I’m sure most of your listeners would have come across mind mapping being in this field. If you haven’t just Google it. There’s so much information out there…

Alison Jones:      Tony Buzan is the guy that really came up with this isn’t he?

Chris Griffiths:   Absolutely. Tony Busan was the gentleman that popularised this whole technique. He was on a BBC series, gosh, a long time ago where he helped bring this to the mainstream.

                                    Many people do this automatically anyway, maybe not in the same structure as he would’ve promoted. But the general concept behind mind mapping is just linking related thoughts. And iit’s very important because when you set out to write anything, you’re entering a very linear process. You know, the book starts at the beginning and it gets to the end. And the difficulty with linear processes when it comes to creative thinking is that the brain doesn’t think like that. The brain likes to go off in any direction at any time. And make connections. If you use a mind map to start to map out the book from a very high level, so just as an example, you know, the, the middle of your mind map is going to be your core basis for your book. The main branches that come off that central idea are going to be your chapter headings.

                                    And then the branches that come off your chapter headings are going to be the key points that you want to get across in that chapter. And the beauty is because it’s a radial thinking process, you can jump around at any point. You, it is virtually impossible to reach that sort of brick wall position, which is what can happen for a lot of people when they try and just jump straight into writing some of the chapters. Or if they try and start doing it in a bullet point form, it’s not natural because it’s linear. The brain just doesn’t work like that. So the way that we would work together is I would map out the book, and this is an important point because with the mind map, you start off by just mapping out what you really want to say, what are the important things that you want to get down. You can fill in the detail later on as you go along. You can add that to the branches. But in terms of how we work together collaboratively, Melina and I, it was really nice because what we would do is we’d build a mind map. The mind map would grow. We could do that in real time. I could add my audio notes to a branch. So rather than literally having to type anything out or worry about structure at that point, it would be a case of looking at, well, what’s that key point on that branch? And then me just saying in my own words to Melina, you know, this is what we really need to get across. Melina would then take that. She would challenge it. She would look at what research both confirms and, and disproves it. And then she could use her magic to put words behind the meaning of that. So as a team, you know, it was just a perfect way to work and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do it without her.

Alison Jones:      I can just imagine lots of people shouting at their podcast-listening device of choice: “I want a Melina!” I mean, it’s just one of those fortuitous things, isn’t it? To have someone who is good at writing be, knows your business inside out and is able to challenge you like that and, and who is willing to do the work. It’s pretty good.

Chris Griffiths:   Yes. But you can break that down. You don’t have to find, I mean, I’ve been lucky that Melina and I, we worked with each other for such a long time and we know how each other thinks. But you don’t need somebody with the whole package. What you need is somebody to collaborate with you while you’re going through this whole process. Because if you were to use that sort of a concept of using a mind map structure and recording key points on each of the branches, it becomes fairly straightforward to give that to others and actually get them to put their comments and views into it. It’s completely different than giving them a draft script which they have to read and then they have to make comments in a linear way, so you’re making it easy for people to say, well, this makes sense or this doesn’t make sense, or I didn’t understand what you’re saying. And ultimately if you then do need to find somebody that can help you write it, you should be able to evolve the content to such a point within that map that whoever you give it to, as long as they’re a good writer, would be able to pull it together for you.

Alison Jones:      And this is interesting because when I mind map, it tends to be quite a visceral thing. I do it on a big sheet of paper or I use rolls of paper actually, which I get from Ikea. So because they don’t have to stop, you just keep going, but there is a real for me still – it’s maybe a generational thing – that there is a real connection between the hand and the brain and there’s a kind of uninhibitedness about that and it’s very physical and therefore very energetic for me. I also use post-it notes a lot and that helps in a sense. You sometimes build a mind map from the ground up rather than from the top out, you know, because there’s something and then you start clustering ideas and boom, there’s your mind map. But when you put it into a digital format, there’s a trade off, isn’t there between the friction of the application – because any new application has a degree of friction with it and constrains you – and most people can’t type and organise things as quickly, digitally as they can on a bit of paper. But then you can do so much more with it. And you can drill down so much more and put more detail in each of the nodes. Do you just start digitally and do you see people doing both?

Chris Griffiths:   Definitely doing both. I mean, again, people often say to me, because we’ve got a software app that, that millions of people use, they expect me to say mind mapping on a computer is always going to be better, but it’s a balance, pretty much everything in life is about balance. It depends on what you prefer. They both have their pros and cons. You’ve summarised it perfectly. I mean, there are some times you just want to get something done really quickly. You’ve got pen and paper in front of you so you can just map things out. Sometimes you don’t want to use a computer because it may be a barrier if you’re working or let’s say you’re in a meeting with somebody, you don’t want to be looking at a computer, you want to be looking at the person and talking to the person.

But then the other side of it is, with the technology side, is that it’s got to the point now where you can actually capture ideas much quicker using technology than you can by hand. However you have to make that investment of getting used to using the tool. I mean the barrier to entry is just education and time in terms of learning how to use something much quicker, but that as an individual that started mind mapping by hand, and then moved to using software, and it wasn’t because I saw software as a way to create a commercial success of a software product, it was because I wanted it, I wanted it myself. And now it’s gone to another level because of course the ability to collaborate becomes priceless.

                                    Whereas when it’s on paper you just haven’t got that ability, you haven’t got the ability to change it, you haven’t got the ability to share it as easily. And the one thing, it sounds like you’re okay with this, but the one thing you must be very careful with when your mind map on paper, it’s such an important point to note, is that be very careful because, when you start your mind map on paper, you’re in a really generative thinking state. But as you get close to the edge of the piece of paper, I see people writing smaller they try and squeeze branches in and all of a sudden they stop thinking. You have to move onto another piece of paper. If you don’t do that, then you’re losing the whole point of using a mind map.

Alison Jones:      Or use a paper roll…

Chris Griffiths:   Yes, absolutely. Yes. I like that idea.

Alison Jones:      It gets a bit elongated, but it’s okay. Because all you’re doing is swapping one constraint for another, isn’t it? “I’m getting near the edge of the paper, I’d better stop thinking about this.”

Chris Griffiths:   Exactly, exactly. And it is, it is really upsetting when I see people doing that because they’ve missed the point. Yes, you don’t want to be constrained by any box. Yes.

Alison Jones:      And they do have… the big practical advantage of digital, I guess, is that you then can read your writing which is something I struggle with when I’m in a particularly ferociously creative phase. And also you can then… you don’t then have to go through all the trauma of, you know, once you’re out of the white hot heat of it all, actually typing it all up into a different document. You can export, you can use… it’s there for you.

Chris Griffiths:   Yes. And I think there’s other more practical things as well. You see a lot of people that are, let’s say dyslexic or mildly, mildly dyslexic. They’re brilliant at creating creative content for free for books or, or because they’re seeing in the world in a different way because they weren’t constrained in the same way that most of us were in the educational system. So the beauty with technology is you can just put anything you want in there as quickly as possible and then clean it up when you get to the stage where you think, okay, now I’m going to go through spellcheck. But when you do it by hand, of course, it’s just much more difficult if you then want to share it with people.

Alison Jones:      Yes, that’s interesting. I hadn’t thought about that. Funnily enough I was talking to Harriet Kelsall who wrote The Creative’s Guide to Starting a Business and she’s dyslexic and she was saying that because she’s dyslexic, she thinks in this very nonlinear way. So she did a similar sort of thing: she just dived into different points and started writing and then kind of pasted it all ttogether, which I think sounds like very hard work but worked for her. But she refers to neurotypical people as ‘linears’, quite dismissively. Which I loved. “Oh, those linears have no idea….”

Chris Griffiths:   I 100% agree with her 100%. Um, you know, I’ve met so many people that have been successful in business and it’s strange because I suppose the one thing that I’ve noticed, which isn’t what I expected it to be, was not so much about their passion or their ability to take risks. It was that a high percentage of the people that I meet are dyslexic or mildly dyslexic and, you know, she’s absolutely spot on in terms of they see the world slightly different to your neurotypicals, now that’s the whole point of The Creative Thinking Handbook, is to take you out of that typical linear thinking and put you in a place that allows you to think as you would naturally, which is obviously far more sort of radiant. So, yes, that’s kind of why we wrote the book.

Alison Jones:      Yes. Brilliant. So being dyslexic can be your absolute superpower in the modern age. Do you think there’s a role for writing in innovation? And I don’t just mean mind mapping stuff. I mean the actual process of digging in and writing and the long form stuff.

Chris Griffiths:   It depends on how it’s done. I mean I’m a firm believer that before you dig in and start that writing, that you use a tool that allows your brain to work in a way that it wants to work. You know, a good example would be if you were to look at what happens to the thought process when you start writing sentences. So you write your first sentence, the next sentence that you write will follow on from your first sentence. Of course, the third sentence you write will follow on from the first and second sentences. And then you’re trapped because the more that you write, the more that the direction has been set in which you’re going to go. And I see it all the time, that people will get even just a couple of paragraphs in and they have narrowed their thinking to such a slim view because they’d have to rewrite everything if they changed their minds.

                                    So they’ve just put themselves into the most selective form of thinking possible. You’re then 99.9% in the state of confirmation bias because you’re just looking for information that supports what you’ve written before. And I see it happen all the time because what happens then, and this is where people find the frustration in writing, is that, okay, let’s just say somebody spent the morning doing that and they feel quite happy with the work that they’ve done, but something just isn’t right. They then go and have lunch, they go for a walk, they take a break for that hour. All of a sudden the brain has come out of that very linear form of thinking and it’s allowed to wander, it’s allowed to daydream, and connections are made and then you come back after lunchtime and think, no, that was the complete wrong direction to take it, I’m going to have to rewrite it. That’s the whole point of using a process, like a mind map, or any visual thinking process. I mean there are many good visual thinking processes that are out there, but the whole point of the visual thinking process is that you are staying objective while you’re trying to decide what are the key things that you want to get across. So, personally, no, I don’t like it when people just jump straight in and try and push through it because I know, I know they, they’ve put themselves into the wrong state of thinking.

Alison Jones:      That’s so interesting and I, I totally see where you’re coming from. I would counter that though with a sort of defence of writing as a way of going deep rather than broad when you do want to explore a topic, because mind maps are great for capturing those, you know, “What’s the key thing I want to say here,” but sometimes there’s a role I think for writing down in that really almost narrow… pursuing the thought. Where does the thought go? And then, and then, and then… and discovering something new at the end of it, which I find really powerful.

Chris Griffiths:   Now what you’re saying there is very, very accurate. And talking about solving problems in business, it’s exactly the same process because what we try and do is take people through a series of steps so that, you know, you’ve defined your problem, you’ve come up with your ideas, you’ve evaluated your ideas. Then the last stage, that sort of direction and driving and making it happen stage is where you are allowed to then start to move into that selective thinking, confirmational bias mode because you’ve done all the thinking beforehand and that’s where you start digging deep. You have to at that point, not question yourself, because you know that you’ve done the pre-work to now know that the energy and effort you’re putting into the direction you’re going to take is probably the right way to go. There’s no guarantees is there. I mean, you know, it’s just about, at some point you have to do what you just said. You have to make that step and say, right now I am just going to go into this 100% I’m just going to go as deep as I possibly can. You can’t do that for multiple areas because, you know, we’ve only got a specific number of years on the planet. So yes, you are absolutely right. As long as you do the first bits before you dive deep.

Alison Jones:      Yes, it’s interesting. I, I’ve still got to make, we’re running out of time so I won’t do it too, too vehemently, but I think there’s still a case made for writing in a more free and unstructured way, um, earlier on in the process just to kind of, because often you come up with connections that way as well. I don’t know if you know free writing?

Chris Griffiths:   Well, yes. I mean even with a mind map, the mind map has structure to it. So there are times where you need to do something more instructed beforehand because again, people even don’t realise that as soon as you start mind mapping, you’ve already created direction to your thinking. It’s, it’s allowing you to go off in any direction, but literally just what you said…

Alison Jones:      Yes, you choose those nodes, don’t you…

Chris Griffiths:   Yes, Yes, absolutely. And, whether it’s writing or whether it’s just ideation for business, free-form thinking, that sort of… just doing something to get the process started is actually a really important part of the process.

Alison Jones:      Oh, I loe that, so now you’ve allowed me to sort of envisage a process which has, she starts with a bit of free writing, very unstructured, not for anybody else’s consumption but yourself and finishes at the end of the day with that really detailed deep dive. Yes.

Chris Griffiths:   Yes. That free writing, that free thinking is, is really that precursor to going into the next stage, which is putting structure behind that. But you don’t want the structure to be linear. Simple as that. I mean, it’s not, this is not rocket science, but it’s just knowing that you have to go through these stages

Alison Jones:      And this is really powerful, isn’t it? We’ve got all these different tools, all these different ways of thinking. And actually when you combine them, each of them brings something different to the party. So it’s about having all that repertoire.

Chris Griffiths:   Absolutely. Absolutely.

Alison Jones:      Yes. Fantastic. It’s so interesting. If you had one tip to give to people listening who are struggling with writing a book, what would that be, Chris?

Chris Griffiths:   I think that’s come across already and it’s the same that I do for everyone that asks me this, is always mind map the book. I mind mapped that book on a flight from San Francisco to London. So literally, nine hours, the whole book was scoped out. Okay, it took Melina and I another 12 months to make it happen. But the fact was I knew what I wanted to say with The Creative Thinking Handbook, again, map that went out. It really didn’t take that long to map it out. Obviously putting the detail in is always going to take longer. But just being able to move to the detailed stage quite quickly I think is really an important step because you get on with the hard work then, rather than going backwards and forwards, trying to find the right direction.

Alison Jones:      And it is freeing, isn’t it? Because it means you can just sit and write because you know exactly what needs to say and how it fits in with everything else. You’re not going to be repeating yourself. You don’t have to like that where it fits. Yes. It’s all there for you. Brilliant. Great tip. Thank you. And would you like to recommend a business book? I mean we have that fairly broad conception of that term here. So a book that you think people listening should read.

Chris Griffiths:   Oh yes. I’d love to. And I’ve got a firm favourite here and there’s only one favourite I’ve got, it should be the book that every business person reads, though it isn’t a business book. I think it’s sold about 120 million copies, which it just seems nuts that isn’t the most popular business book out on the market, but it would be the little prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry…

Alison Jones:      What a wonderful recommendation!

Chris Griffiths:   Every human being on this planet needs to read that book because it just helps with a realisation that as you get older, your thinking is becoming more and more restrictive. So I know it’s a children’s book, but it really isn’t a children’s book. I mean, I’ve read that book more than any other book and every time I read it, even in the field that I’m in, I get some sort of insight from it. So if any of your listeners haven’t read it, then please do. I mean, if they’ve got children read it to the children, you’ll probably enjoy it more than the children, but both of my children have absolutely loved that book and I’ve read it so many times with them. Even now, you know, my daughter is 15 and she absolutely loves that book and she reads that book herself I’d probably say one once a year. It’s just such a powerful book that relates to creative thinking that relates to how we become less imaginative as we get older. And these are the skills that we really need in business. So yes, that’s the best business book on the planet according to me.

Alison Jones:      I did not see that coming. That’s brilliant, it’s on my daughter’s bookshelf. I’m going to reread it right now. Brilliant. Thank you so much. Chris, if people want to find out more about you, more about The Creative Thinking Handbook, where should they go?

Chris Griffiths:   Yes, that would be great. I mean, you can go to open genius.com, OpenGenius is my overall company and that will point you off in the direction of the software or the training programmes or the books, and The Creative Thinking Handbook of course is available on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. We’ve got it coming out in a few other languages and countries over the next 12 months, which is really exciting. Or you can get it from Kogan Page’s site itself.

Alison Jones:      Fantastic. And I’ll put the link to your various places upon the show notes at extraordinarybusinessbooks.com along with the transcript of this conversation. Thank you so much for your time Chris.

Chris Griffiths:   Really enjoyed it. Great conversation.

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