DevReady PodcastWho killed creativity with Andrew Grant | Creativity in Start-ups Series Part 1 | Episode 72

On this episode of the DevReady Podcast, Andrew and Anthony talk to Andrew Grant, Director of Tirian International Consultancy, and co-author of ‘Who Killed Creativity?… And How Can We Get it Back?‘ A keynote presenter at TEDx (HK), in this episode of the podcast, he talks about what kills creativity and how to get it back, much along the lines of his acclaimed book. Andrew talks about his being in the business for over 2 decades along with his partner, Gaia Gates and how they started in Asia working with cross-cultural teams, ex-pats and locals.

Both of them often got invited to attend conferences and soon discovered that such gatherings were very boring in the mornings with lots of keynote talks and childish in the afternoons with silly team building games and everyone getting drunk. Thinking that continuing to do so was a waste of people’s money, they came up with lots of creative ideas on how to make the mornings more interactive and afternoon sessions more intelligent. That got them started on the importance of how creativity can help solve problems.

“We are all victims of our culture, our upbringing, perhaps a little bit of our geneticbrain in the way our brains have been wired, left and right brain, back and front brain—it’s all a mishmash”. – Andrew Grant

That’s what later went from being the contents of a book to workshops to a game around who killed creativity. (To find the CSI Board-game, go to When researching why people would want to read yet another book on creativity, they came to a conclusion that the actual issue of what’s blocking people’s creativity was something that wasn’t explored. There was no diagnostic tool to explore one’s journey from childhood to adulthood and to fill that gap they partnered with a neuroscientist and psychologist to try and really understand all that was going on inside a person’s brain, and from that was born the book-‘Who Killed Creativity?… And How Can We Get it Back?’Andrew then goes to explain why he decided to use the metaphor of a crime scene where creativity is killed. That’s what makes the book memorable; these questions: who killed creativity, with what weapon, and how do we get it back? In the book, the authors basically, distil it down to seven key suspects. (To read more on the suspects, go to

  1. The Control Crew
  2. The Fear Family
  3. The Pressure Pack
  4. The Insulation Clique
  5. The Apathy Clan
  6. The Narrow-Minded Mob
  7. The Pessimism Posse

Andrew further discusses that his concept of creative thinking applies in the business world where it goes hand in hand with critical thinking where the idea is to make one plus one equal three; to find a solution to what is called the wicked problem—one that is unknown and continues to morph.  The essence of the podcast is that creativity doesn’t happen magically over a hack-a-thon, that people first need to be aware of the fact that there’s much in their culture and environment that can block creativity, and using this diagnostic tool allows people to talk about issues in a safe environment.

“Your job is to make a one plus one equal three. Why make a one plus one equal two? It’s been done before.” – Andrew Grant

Topics Covered:

  • Need for creativity in the workplace.
  • The memorable concept of who killed creativity, with what weapon and how to get it back.
  • Difference between creativity in the artistic sense and business sense.
  • Why does creativity decrease as one grows up?
  • The seven suspects that block creativity.
  • The growing importance of creativity in the workplace as AI becomes more prevalent.
  • How to foster creativity?

Additional Resources:
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