Quotable Mumford
A collection of insightful & memorable offerings from the work of Dr. Mumford.

Home: Editorial
Key Learnings: Bridging Creativity and Systems Thinking
The Work: The Assessment and Development of High Level Talent
Book Review: Pathways to Outstanding Leadership
Book Review: Leadership 101

The Assessment and Development of Highlevel Talent

  Workplace Structure as it Relates to Skill Growth and Development

Creative Thinking Skills
Leadership Skills
Workplace Structure
Life History Path


If there is anything we have learned in more than a century of research, it is that creative achievement is a complex phenomenon which flowers only under the right conditions (Mumford & Gustafson, 1988). The complex delicacy of the creative act becomes even more evident in organizational setting because a host of new variables enter the picture that are, at best, only of limited concern when we focus on individuals working alone. (Mumford & Simonton, 1997, p. 2)

Developing and supporting individual creativity is not always an easy activity. It is even more challenging in the workplace. Mumford’s work recognizes the particular challenges associated with organizational creativity and addresses the challenges with insight and strong recommendations.

Although it seems clear that the conditions confronting organizations place a premium on creativity and innovation, one cannot expect that simply acknowledging the need for creativity and innovation will necessarily result in a sudden burst of new ideas. (Mumford & Simonton, 1997, p. 2)
Mumford, Whetzel, and Reiter-Palmon (1997) looks at how creative problem solving efforts are influenced by characteristics of the organizations in which they work. It also describes orgganizational variables that can support or discourage creative performance. These are:
  • Resources
  • Information
  • Group Interaction
  • Organizational Structure

Day, Blair, Daniels, Kligyte, and Mumford, M. D. (2006) describes a system, Inegrative Training Design Matrix, to help “training practitioners use job-analytic information to better link needs assessment and instructional objectives to the design of training settings” (p. 377). This is intended as a step toward developing a more integrative approach to the development of training programs that is better able to accommodate the needs of today’s ever changing businesses.

Mumford (2000) builds on an understanding of the nature of creativity and the creative process to outline human resource management strategies to enhance creativty. Discovering Mumford (2000) was one of the great joys that occurred when researching this project. I have long felt that organizations need to have human resources strategies to identify, acquire, develop, and retain talent in the same way they have customer acquistion and retention strategies. Mumford (2000) takes the idea of human resources stategies and presents thirty-four prositions organized by the individual, the organization, the group, and the environment.


“…providing time to think before one acts may do much to enhance creative thought in organizations.”

(Mumford, Whetzel, & Reiter-Palmon, 1997, p. 10)