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By: James Cannon Robert Cannon

Aha! A User’s Guide to Creativity

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For songwriter Paul McCartney it happened in his sleep. For author J.K. Rowling, it was on a delayed train. For playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda it was on a Mexican beach, and for Greek philosopher Archimedes it was in his bath.Each had their ‘aha’ moment, their stroke of insight that led to a masterpiece of creative work and changed the world: the Beatles song Yesterday, the Harry Potter series of books, the musical Hamilton. As for Archimedes, his insight into hydraulics changed the nature of engineering and had an enduring impact on civilisation. It was such a monumental moment for the philosopher that he jumped out of the bath and dashed down the street stark naked, loudly proclaiming his discovery and totally oblivious to his lack of clothes.But how did they come to experience this flash of insight? And how did they turn it into a creative masterpiece that was to be so successful?This book explores all aspects of the creative process—from idea to innovation, from moon-shot to mass market—and demystifies the steps to ‘being more creative’. Packed with research and references to the leading thinkers in the field, as well as tools and techniques for enhancing creativity in a practical way, it is a book for every individual and organisation who wants a different future.The authors believe that the capacity for creativity is a universal human attribute and is undermined by a misunderstanding of the creative process and the factors that encourage or inhibit it. This book shows how to overcome these hurdles so that creativity can flourish.

James Cannon


James Cannon specialises in organisation design and development and has consulted with organisations in the UK, North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. He works as a coach to directors and senior executives, as well as mediating and facilitating events designed to improve the effectiveness of Boards and organisations. He speaks regularly to directors and at conferences and ran an extensive range of training courses for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in the UK, as well as for other organisations. He was a visiting lecturer at Geneva University.


He was a fellow of two institutes (CIPD and CMI), British Psychological Society member and Manpower Society prize winner. He was formerly special adviser to the CIPD. In 2016, he gained an award from the British Government for his work in leadership development.


With a degree in Behavioural Science, a master’s degree in Manpower Studies and a doctorate in Organisational Psychology, his career has included director appointments at Charterhouse, Black and Decker and Thorn EMI, in Organisation Development, Human Resources, Information Technology and General Management, including founding and becoming Chief Executive of Solutions Electronic Services.


In 1989, he started his own consultancy, as well as co-founding Cavendish Partners, now merged with Right Management, a firm specialising in career counselling and coaching for senior executives. He is a trustee of Trinity, a charity working with homelessness in London; and of the Tracy Trust, a charity helping pensioners in Buckinghamshire.


He has written several books, including Cost-Effective Personnel Decisions, Database Directory, Giving Feedback, Making the Business Case, Talent Management and Succession Planning, Organisation Development and Change (the latter two with Rita McGee), Organisation Design and Capability Building (with Rita McGee and Naomi Stamford) and workbooks such as Team-Based Problem-Solving and the Career Review workbook. He was consulting editor of Toolclicks, the online service from CIPD.


Robert Cannon


Robert Cannon is a teacher, coach, facilitator and educator specialising in the arts and entertainment industry. He draws upon two decades of experience on the frontline of the music business in his work with the organisations and practitioners at the forefront of the arts and entertainment industry, as well as with the students who are its future. He has worked in the UK, USA, Australia and throughout Europe.


Rob is currently an academic lecturer in Arts & Entertainment Management at the Australian Institute of Music (AIM), having previously served as head of school and overseeing the degree programmes in Arts and Entertainment Management, Composition and Music Production, Audio Engineering and Dramatic Arts. Rob continues to write and teach a broad variety of courses and classes, including Creativity, Marketing, Strategic Partnerships, Introduction to Arts and Entertainment Management, Performance Psychology and others.


Rob has spent 20 years working in music. His first brush with the music industry was as a guitarist and pianist in several rock and jazz bands in the UK, before he started his career on the business side of the industry at Clive Davis’ J Records in New York.


Rob subsequently worked in A&R and marketing for several Sony and BMG labels in New York, London and Sydney, working with artists ranging from Rod Stewart to Alicia Keys to Maroon 5.

Rob has coached individuals within the arts and entertainment industry and has designed workshops for various music and entertainment companies. He has authored and presented talks and conference papers on teaching and harnessing creativity within the arts, and on applying techniques from the field of positive and performance psychology within the arts. He has also appeared on panels at various music industry conferences, and has written about music, the arts and travel for a range of publications, websites and newspapers.


Rob holds a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages from Cambridge University, a Master of Arts in Music Business from New York University and a Master of Applied Science in Coaching Psychology from Sydney University.

James Cannon

 

James Cannon specialises in organisation design and development and has consulted with organisations in the UK, North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. He works as a coach to directors and senior executives, as well as mediating and facilitating events designed to improve the effectiveness of Boards and organisations. He speaks regularly to directors and at conferences and ran an extensive range of training courses for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in the UK, as well as for other organisations. He was a visiting lecturer at Geneva University.

 

He was a fellow of two institutes (CIPD and CMI), British Psychological Society member and Manpower Society prize winner. He was formerly special adviser to the CIPD. In 2016, he gained an award from the British Government for his work in leadership development.

 

With a degree in Behavioural Science, a master’s degree in Manpower Studies and a doctorate in Organisational Psychology, his career has included director appointments at Charterhouse, Black and Decker and Thorn EMI, in Organisation Development, Human Resources, Information Technology and General Management, including founding and becoming Chief Executive of Solutions Electronic Services.

 

In 1989, he started his own consultancy, as well as co-founding Cavendish Partners, now merged with Right Management, a firm specialising in career counselling and coaching for senior executives. He is a trustee of Trinity, a charity working with homelessness in London; and of the Tracy Trust, a charity helping pensioners in Buckinghamshire.

 

He has written several books, including Cost-Effective Personnel DecisionsDatabase DirectoryGiving FeedbackMaking the Business CaseTalent Management and Succession PlanningOrganisation Development and Change (the latter two with Rita McGee), Organisation Design and Capability Building (with Rita McGee and Naomi Stamford) and workbooks such as Team-Based Problem-Solving and the Career Review workbook. He was consulting editor of Toolclicks, the online service from CIPD.

 

Robert Cannon

 

Robert Cannon is a teacher, coach, facilitator and educator specialising in the arts and entertainment industry. He draws upon two decades of experience on the frontline of the music business in his work with the organisations and practitioners at the forefront of the arts and entertainment industry, as well as with the students who are its future. He has worked in the UK, USA, Australia and throughout Europe.

 

Rob is currently an academic lecturer in Arts & Entertainment Management at the Australian Institute of Music (AIM), having previously served as head of school and overseeing the degree programmes in Arts and Entertainment Management, Composition and Music Production, Audio Engineering and Dramatic Arts. Rob continues to write and teach a broad variety of courses and classes, including Creativity, Marketing, Strategic Partnerships, Introduction to Arts and Entertainment Management, Performance Psychology and others.

 

Rob has spent 20 years working in music. His first brush with the music industry was as a guitarist and pianist in several rock and jazz bands in the UK, before he started his career on the business side of the industry at Clive Davis’ J Records in New York.

 

Rob subsequently worked in A&R and marketing for several Sony and BMG labels in New York, London and Sydney, working with artists ranging from Rod Stewart to Alicia Keys to Maroon 5.

Rob has coached individuals within the arts and entertainment industry and has designed workshops for various music and entertainment companies. He has authored and presented talks and conference papers on teaching and harnessing creativity within the arts, and on applying techniques from the field of positive and performance psychology within the arts. He has also appeared on panels at various music industry conferences, and has written about music, the arts and travel for a range of publications, websites and newspapers.

 

Rob holds a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages from Cambridge University, a Master of Arts in Music Business from New York University and a Master of Applied Science in Coaching Psychology from Sydney University.

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