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Table of Contents | December 2004

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What Makes Beautiful Minds
Some forms of creative genius seem unfathomable. But as the author of A Beautiful Mind tells us, that doesn't mean we can't learn from them. Sylvia Nasar
The Fabric of Creativity
At W.L. Gore, innovation is more than skin deep: The culture is as imaginative as the products. Alan Deutschman
Fast Take: Gore's Text for Innovation
W.L. Gore's new rules of business start with breaking the old rules. Alan Deutschman
Innovation Awards
How do you quantify corporate imagination? Meet the top companies on the first-ever Fast Company/Monitor Group Innovation Scorecard -- firms where new ideas are a competitive advantage. Michael A. Prospero
What Money Can't Buy
Each year, Microsoft spends more than $6 billion on R&D. And for all that money, it toilets and SPOT Watches. Is there a problem here? Carleen Hawn
Microsoft Skills
William H. Gates III is chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corp. He spoke with Fast Company about patience, fast-following, and the innovation gap. Carleen Hawn
Fast Take: Lessons on Innovation From Microsoft
There are plenty of internal reasons why Microsoft's record of innovation is so lackluster. Not to mince words, Bill Gates's researchers have placed a bunch of expensive bets on technologies that haven't panned out. But the company's failure also points to three much bigger lessons about innovation. Carleen Hawn
The 6 Myths Of Creativity
A new study will change how you generate ideas and decide who's really creative in your company. Bill Breen
Fast Take: Getting Creative
How do you build a creative work environment? Here is Harvard professor Teresa Amabile's four-part plan for leaders, coupled with journal excerpts from her pioneering study of creativity "in the wild. Bill Breen
Green Power
Thanks to soaring fuel prices, lots of creative energy is being applied to alternative energy. The time may finally have come for these three champions of on-the-verge technologies. Scott Kirsner
Fast Take: Slipping Into the Future
Jeremy Bentham took over last year as CEO of Royal Dutch/Shell's hydrogen business. Here's his advice on how a big company can prepare for big change. Scott Kirsner
Please Displease Me
Hey, sometimes innovation ain't pretty. And neither are the cars Patrick le Quement designs for Renault. Ian Wylie
Fast Take: Don't Brake for Change
Patrick le Quement's cars provoke strong reactions. Here's his recipe for getting an organization to embrace risky design. Ian Wylie
What I Know Now
Myrtle S. Potter, a top exec at Genentech, explains how to pare down, focus, and move forward. Paul B. Brown
Fast Talk: The Creative Impulse
Five young professionals in the fields of fashion, design, publishing, advertising, and architecture discuss the source of their creativity and what drives it. Ryan Underwood


Offshoring Creativity
Never mind the call centers. Look at the high-tech firms and markets in China and India, and worry about the emigration of innovation. Alan Deutschman
Awards Day!
They're Not Playing Around
We review the cutthroat business of toys: Does Toys "R" Us stand a chance against industry behemoth Wal-Mart this holiday season? Chuck Salter
Tinier Towels
Diane Cheshire on smaller-sized sheets. Paul Lukas
No Wonder the Economy Is Dragging!
The price of professionalism. Lucas Conley
Reinventing the Wheel
Our Consultant Debunking Unit travels full circle when it comes to reinventing the wheel. Martin Kihn
The Year of Learning Dangerously
"12," an advertising school launched by an ad agency, is an "incredibly messy" education in solving real-world problems. Polly LaBarre
How To Fix CNBC
Five years ago, CNBC pole-vaulted into the zeitgeist. "Business news is hot," a spokesman bragged then. Today, it's not -- and CNBC's daytime viewership is off 51% from its 2000 peak of 348,000. How to goose the sagging ratings? Ryan Underwood
60 Seconds With Caroll Spinney
The man in the giant canary suit on Sesame Street talks about staying fresh, fighting with Elmo, and making football players cry. Lucas Conley
Linear Thinking
Lessons from the Rockettes. Alec Appelbaum
Why the %#$@ Computer Doesn't Get It
Why can't humans and computers just get along? We say one thing, they hear something different. People are from Venus, computers are from, well, a factory somewhere. Michael A. Prospero
Critical calendar listings for December 2004. Danielle Sacks
Wishful Thinking
Getting and giving: fun tech toys for your holiday list, plus three worthy causes. Magnus Hoij and Fiona Haley
Gift Gallery
A seasonal guide to the best in innovative products and services for leaders. Heath Row
Office Handbook
The rules on holiday festivities. Ryan Underwood
The Corporate Shrink
How to cope with the guilt of firing a coworker. Dr. Kerry J. Sulkowicz


The Care and Feeding of the Creative Class
Secrets for fielding teams that are passionate, playful, and high performance. Linda Tischler
Brain Calisthenics
We road-test three exercises designed to stretch the imagination. David Lidsky
Acting Up
Casting director Mark Bennett takes you behind the scenes on auditioning your way to success. Danielle Sacks
People Who Need People
Helping leaders navigate the strategy-execution gap.
Readers' Choice
Clued In makes the case for a successful customer-service experience.
It's Not a Fair Fight If You're the CEO
Watch your mouth. As the boss, you stand to wreak havoc by mere suggestion. Marshall Goldsmith
No Choice Without Voice
Why do we demand so much from our toys and TVs, and so little from our banks, insurers, and drug companies? Shoshana Zuboff

More Great Stuff

Finding Your Inner Creative
This month's letter from the editor. John A. Byrne
Between The Lines
The stories behind this issue's stories.
Letters. Updates. Advice.
The Net/Net
A go-to guide of the products and services featured in this month's issue.