We Are All Producers Now

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Pearson Education, Feb 1, 2010 - Business & Economics - 14 pages

Every era has its model of business practice. In the 1950s, it was the organization man. In the 1970s, it was the gamesman. Going forward, the model is the producer. The reason is simple: The world is nothing if not unstable.

In this absurdist jungle, trust was a quaint anachronism. Contracts for millions of dollars were actually written on the back of a napkin, notwithstanding Samuel Goldwyn’s famous observation that verbal agreements aren’t worth the paper they are written on. Sometimes, just a handshake sufficed. When doors opened, it was not because of the quality of your ideas or the strength of your talent, but on the basis of your relationships. Your most valuable asset was your Rolodex, and ours wasn’t full of the right numbers.


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About the author (2010)

John Kao learned a lot about creativity and innovation during his years teaching at the Harvard Business School, Stanford University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab and also through his experience as a serial entrepreneur, psychiatrist, movie producer, and jazz pianist. He wrote about the topic in Jamming--The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity, a BusinessWeek bestseller that has been published in more than a dozen languages. He is also the author of Innovation Nation, hailed by BusinessWeek as one of the best business books of 2007, as well as several Harvard Business Review articles. Dubbed Mr. Creativity by the Economist, Kao was trained in philosophy (Yale College), psychiatry (Yale Medical School and the Harvard Medical School), and business (the Harvard Business School). He is a Tony-nominated producer of film and theater, whose credits include sex, lies & videotape and Mr. Baseball as well as the Broadway play Golden Child. A jazz pianist at heart, he apprenticed at a young age to the rock legend Frank Zappa. Kao currently serves as Chairman of the Institute for Large Scale Innovation, an association of innovation leaders from around the world. He also regularly advises senior leaders in both the public and private sector on the development of innovation strategies and capabilities.

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