Encouraging Aha! Moments for Organizational Success
by Nancy K. Napier
May 2010, 224pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-36643-7
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-0-313-36644-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Aha! We all know the moment when something utterly baffling all of the sudden becomes clear. Or when a new idea or creative solution seemingly pops up from nowhere. But aha! moments don’t come from nowhere, and while there is no way to summon them at will, there are ways to make them far more likely.

An expert shows how to cultivate “aha” moments—flashes of insight—that lead to business innovation and personal success.

Insight: Encouraging Aha! Moments for Organizational Success helps individuals and organizations create the conditions that lay the groundwork for the distinct “Aha!” instances of insight—when connections between different pieces of information are revealed and ideas come together in ways that have never existed before.

Insight examines three stages of the Aha! experience, from the early confusion and chaos of “too much information,” to how people organize and try out what they learn, to the “Aha!” moment itself. It then examines techniques people use to spark the creative aha experience—techniques that will work in a private business, education, government, nonprofit, and any other organizational setting. The book is based on interviews with over 100 people of all ages, backgrounds, and professions—from software developers to dancers, from detectives to football coaches—as well as the latest research results from management, psychology, and neuroscience studies about the workings of the brain in creative situations.


  • Includes over 100 interviews with people of diverse ages, jobs, organizations, and perspectives about how they encourage aha! experiences in themselves and others
  • Presents multiple frameworks to illustrate how the insight experience happens and what activities help encourage it
  • Offers endnotes and additional sources to explore
  • Includes exercises and puzzles to encourage creativity and generate ideas
Nancy K. Napier, PhD, is a professor of international business and executive director of the Centre for Creativity and Innovation in the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University, Boise, ID. Her most recent book is The Creative Discipline: Mastering the Art and Science of Innovation.


"We live in an era where innovation and creativity have become buzzwords, hundreds of un-innovative articles and books are being published on these topics, and we are bombarded by academics and wannabe experts telling us we need to be more creative and innovative. Swimming strongly counter current, Napier has written a book that actually explains how to do it and, even more importantly, how to do it faster! Insight: Encouraging Aha! Moments for Organizational Success is without a doubt a deeply needed, rigorously researched, and iconoclastically written book which overflows with provocative ideas."—Marco Busi
CEO and Head of Research, Carisma RCT Ltd.
Editor-in-chief, Strategic Outsourcing, an International Journal

"As someone whose work is entirely built upon 'generating ‘aha’ experiences in others,' Nancy Napier’s ideas ring remarkably true to me. Napier’s call to 'make insight thinking a habit' is a quietly revolutionary notion that can be applied with ease to any field. This is a must read for any leader or manager who desires a rich and expansive creative contribution from those whom s/he leads." —Risa Brainin, Freelance Director (Kansas City, Indiana, St. Louis and Milwaukee Repertory Theatres, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Guthrie Theater)

"This insightful book demystifies the process of creating of 'aha' moments, which happen to all of us. But Napier proves they don't have to happen by chance. Those moments of brilliance can be conditioned if we re-program our radars to accept the clues leading up to an aha moment. Enjoy the transformation potential!" —Ross Corthell, General Manager – Transportation, Boise Inc.

"Fed up with dull, pompous management books? Want something that grabs you with information you can use? Look no further. Insight: Encouraging Aha Moments for Organizational Success supplies insights -- or rather insights about insights -- on literally every page of this lively and illuminating book." —Professor Nigel J Holden
Director, Institute of International Business Greenbank Building
Lancashire Business School University of Central Lancashire

"To find that having AHA moments of creativity is spread far beyond the arts across the whole range of human work and activity is this book’s own AHA moment. Napier finds a wide range of examples which make clear how all of us can and do have AHA breakthroughs, and from these stories, I learned ways to encourage those idea leaps for myself. AHA!" —Ben Shedd
Academy Award® winning filmmaker/Adjunct Professor
The Flight of the Gossamer Condor, IMAX films, NOVA series

"Dr. Napier describes a powerful phenomenon that I was only viscerally aware of. As a manager, mentor and coach, I now know that the 'ah ha' moment is in front of every business problem and my job is to help other's to get to that point more quickly." —Greg Hanmer, IT Director
Hewlett Packard Company
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