A Huge Loss

by Roger Pynn

Learning of the death of George M. Prince made me reflect on a man known by too few. His 1970 book The Practice of Creativity has stayed on my bookshelf for more than 25 years since I took the first of several workshops from Synectics Inc., the think tank he founded in Cambridge, Mass.

Prince taught creativity like a science. He pioneered the observation of creativity in the invention process, videotaping inventors at work. A wealth of his work lives on, including writings and his prolific “doodles,” as he called them. You see, George sat through so many meetings as perhaps one of the greatest meeting facilitators of all time that he learned to harness the creative energy that could otherwise have escaped that great mind by doodling non-stop from a pocket full of colored markers that became as much his trademark as his blue shirts (I don’t think I ever saw him in anything else).

He taught people the power of structured meetings that nurtured every participant’s ability to build creatively on the other’s thinking. If there’s a meeting going on in heaven, I’m sure George is in charge and it is no doubt producing some incredible results.

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