In 1919, Alex Osborn joined with Bruce Fairchild Barton and Roy Sarles Durstine to form the BDO advertising agency. He was largely responsible for the 1928 merger of BDO (Barton, Durstine & Osborn) with the George Batten Company to create BBDO.
After years of success and having survived the Great Depression, BBDO underwent a crisis in 1938. Although they lost most of their clients and many key leaders, Osborn eventually saved the company by winning the Goodrich Tire account.
Along his journey, and having learned a few things about leading creative people, Osborn became famous as an author, publishing popular books on creative thinking.
In 1953 he introduced an idea called “brainstorming” in his book Applied Imagination. He proposed that groups could double their creative output with this methodology. Although the approach has evolved and, frankly, improved dramatically since the first edition of his book, the original concept has taken hold across business as a powerful way to generate new ideas.
I just noticed you can pick up a copy of this book on eBay for just 99 cents.
Not a bad investment if you’re interested in the history of creative leadership.
Much of we now take for granted was first codified here.