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Keith Sawyer

Dr. R. Keith Sawyer, Morgan Distinguished Professor of Educational Innovation at UNC: Chapel Hill, is one of the world’s leading scientific experts on creativity, collaboration, and learning. His latest book is Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity.

Keith’s previous book Group Genius (Basic Books), written for a broad audience, draws on his research on jazz and improv theater to show the reader how to be more creative in collaborative group settings and how to change organizations for the better. His other books on this topic include Explaining Creativity and Creating Conversations.

Dr. Sawyer combines his scientific expertise with a strong hands-on background in real-world creativity. After receiving his computer science degree from MIT in 1982, he began his career with a two-year stint designing videogames for Atari. His titles included Food Fight, Neon, and Magician. From 1984 to 1990, he was a principal at Kenan Systems Corporation, where he worked as a management consultant on innovative technologies. His clients included Citicorp, AT&T, and U.S. West. Since receiving his Ph.D. in 1994, he has dedicated his career to research on collaboration and group creativity. He has been a jazz pianist for over 20 years, and spent several years playing piano with Chicago improv theater groups.

During his recent sabbatical, Dr. Sawyer was an Osher Fellow at the San Francisco Exploratorium, a legendary science center that's downtown in the former Palace of Fine Arts, where he worked with them on collaboration, exhibit design, architecture, and organizational culture. Next, Dr. Sawyer was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge in the Faculty of Education offices where he studied how they incorporated teaching creativity in their public schools. Lastly, Dr. Sawyer was a Visiting Professor at the Savannah College of Art & Design, where he worked with them on a major strategic plan that emphasizes collaborative creativity across departments and schools.

Dr. Sawyer is frequently interviewed on television (CNN, CNBC, Fox News) and radio. He has been quoted in numerous magazine and newspaper articles, including TIME, The New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, and many others.

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