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“Made in WNY” –  Osborn’s Brainstorm

     Innovation is a cornerstone of many successful businesses and WNY has a proud tradition of innovation from Dart’s grain elevator to ACV Auction’s dealer auction technology.  But did you know we also invented innovation tools and techniques that are still used around the world to this day?  Eighty years ago in 1942, Alex F. Osborn’s book “How to Think Up” was published and made the first mention of “brainstorming,” a unique innovation technique that Osborn developed to generate creative advertising ideas at BBDO, the legendary advertising company he helped found and run.  To facilitate creativity and innovation, Osborn began experimenting with group sessions that successfully increased both the quality and quantity of ideas his advertising team could produce.   Osborn followed up on his book by publishing “Your Creative Power” (1948), “Wake Up Your Mind: 101 Ways to Develop Creativeness” (1952) and “Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem Solving” (1953), the latter introduced the Creative Problem Solving (CPS) process.

      Osborn began his career as a reporter at the Buffalo Times, became sales manager for Hard Manufacturing (which still operates on the corner of Grider Street & Northland Avenue) before moving into advertising and joining the Buffalo office of what would become the famous advertising agency BBDO (the ‘O’ stood for Osborn), where he served as general manager and ultimately chairman.  Osborn used his books’ proceeds to found the Creative Education Foundation in 1954 which led to the establishment of the Creative Studies Department at Buffalo State College in 1967, now known as the Center for Applied Imagination, the first program in the world to teach the science of creativity at a graduate level. Osborn died in Buffalo in 1966 and is interred at Forest Lawn, but he’ll forever be part of WNY’s ongoing tradition of innovation.  Contact us at Info@insyte-consulting.com to learn how we can help your business innovate.

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