“Creativity Comes from Conversation” — an excerpt from my chapter in the book, Age of Conversation 2: Why Don’t They Get It?

The cover of Age of Conversation 2: Why Don't They Get It?

Part of our company’s 30th Anniversary Year Series
(You can start by reading Part 1 here.)

So far, I have been a contributing author to three nonfiction books related to Social Business and Innovation, including the recently published book, A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowd Sourcing: Advice from Leading Experts, edited by Paul Sloane, with a foreword by Henry Chesbrough (Kogan Page, March, 2011); and two of the Age of Conversation trilogy, edited by Drew McLellan and Gavin Heaton: Age of Conversation 2: Why Don’t They Get It? (2008); and Age of Conversation 3: It’s Time to Get Busy! (2010).

In each book, I chose to write about how social business affects people and the culture of organizations—rather than just discuss how to use the social tools—and how social business is leading to more innovation, including Open Innovation. I’ll be writing more about A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowd Sourcing: Advice from Leading Experts in another post. Meanwhile, whether you are relatively new to using Social Media for business purposes, or a seasoned veteran, you will find value in owning the entire trilogy of the Age of Conversation books, which provide a bounty of still-relevant advice about many facets of integrating conversational media with other communications channels, both inside and outside of your organization. It is also interesting to note how the uses of Social Media have changed between 2007-11, and how much more the public and business world have embraced Social Media during the past few years.

In 2007, with what began as a half dare, the editors, Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan, challenged bloggers around the world to contribute one page—400 words—on the topic of “conversation.” The resulting book, The Age of Conversation, brought together over 100 of the world’s leading marketers, writers, thinkers and creative innovators in a ground-breaking and unusual publication. In Age of Conversation 2 and 3, the number of authors rose above 200, all notable social media marketing professionals. The proceeds of all three books were donated to charities selected by the editors and authors.

In celebration of the 30th year anniversary of my company, I am publishing slightly edited excerpts of my chapters from Age of Conversation 2 and Age of Conversation 3 on this blog, as I think they are still highly relevant in 2011 and going forward. Here is my contribution to Age of Conversation 2: Why Don’t They Get It?:


Creativity Comes from Conversation—What’s Innovation Got to Do with It?

By Cathryn Hrudicka
Founder, CEO & Chief Imagination Officer, Creative Sage™ / Cathryn Hrudicka & Associates

The most creative ideas often come from conversation. This is especially true for breakthrough ideas that take an organization to a revolutionary new level of innovation that makes or sustains its position as an industry leader.

So, instead of matching job candidates against a checklist of qualifications, hiring managers ought to be asking themselves:

• How well does your prospective new employee talk with other staff at all levels? Can s/he present new ideas, no matter how radical, in a way that shows s/he can cultivate influence with the right people to get at least an informal review of the ideas?

• Is s/he an innovation advocate? Does s/he understand the concepts of a “creative culture” and an “open innovation process,” and will s/he be fair and open-minded in considering ideas of direct reports—and customers or clients?

• Is the new prospect also a “conversation advocate”—can you see her/him as part of a high-performing team who, through the synergy of conversation, will regularly come up with new solutions? Does your candidate use idea management, Wikis, Web community or intranet platforms effectively as team tools?

• Do you believe the new hire and other team members will be able to work together effectively to strategically implement new ideas? If there are problems, is your organization willing to invest in training or coaching to help them work out their issues effectively?

• Is the candidate a well-rounded person who leads a passionate, inspired, creative life as well as holding a creative job? Even if the job description is very specific, can s/he converse across a wide variety of topics while going deeper in her/his main areas of expertise?

• Is your prospective candidate aware of what it takes to build a customer community around your organization’s services or products in an authentic two-way conversation? Is s/he savvy about using social media and social networking tools?

• Is s/he able to recognize trends and ideas in community conversations, online or in person, and synthesize these diverse comments into a new concept for a service or product offering?

It’s clear that we need to invest in multi-faceted, conversational, creative candidates, even those who in the past may not have seemed to “fit in with the corporate culture,” if we truly want a culture of open innovation and extraordinary results.

For more on creativity and innovation, read What’s Innovation Got to Do with It?™ — the Creative Sage™ Blog.

Bio from the Book:

Cathryn Hrudicka is Chief Imagination Officer at her company, Creative Sage™/Cathryn Hrudicka & Associates. She is a social media, public relations, marketing and innovation consultant and executive coach. Her clients include leaders in the entertainment, business, technology, health care and nonprofit sectors.

A recent client, Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley (a Sutter Health affiliate), won the 2009 SNCR (Society for New Communications Research) Award for Excellence and Innovation in External Communications and Communities in the Nonprofit Division, along with Creative Sage™/Cathryn Hrudicka & Associates, and G2 Communications, Inc.

An author of eight novels, Cathryn is working on a nonfiction book series about creativity and innovation. She is also a composer, sound designer, journalist and multimedia artist.


The Age of Conversation 3: It’s Time to Get Busy, published in April, 2010—still relevant, and limited copies are available! Proceeds from AOC3 benefit Charity Water.

Age of Conversation 3 (April, 2010)

The Age of Conversation 2: Why Don’t They Get It? Buy this book and support Variety, the children’s charity! Limited copies may be available.

The Age of Conversation 2:

Buy it on Amazon

The Age of Conversation 1—you may still be able to find a new or used copy of this book and have the entire trilogy!

Age of Conversation 1 (2007)

Buy it on Amazon

Buy AOC 1 and 2 at Lulu.com

Back to the blog front page…

Return to the Cathryn Hrudicka & Associates Home Page

One Comment

  1. Posted July 20, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

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  1. [...] entitled: “Creativity Comes from Conversation—What’s Innovation Got to Do with It?” here, and an excerpt of my chapter from Age of Conversation 3, entitled: “Shake Up and Stir” [...]

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