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Introducing: A New Illustrative and Expanded Version of Rethink Creativity (2nd Ed.)

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You are creative. You were creative. You can grow your creativity. And the world is yet to see your limitless potential. Imagine where we will be when everyone brings out our limitless potential with confidence no matter where we work and live. That’s the society I dream and look forward to building with you, through my book. 

Authoring a book is a humbling process. Editing a book that is already published to further improvise on it is even more humbling. After many months of behind-the-scenes effort, I’m thrilled to finally say it is now ready for you. Friends, meet the second edition of Rethink Creativity: How to Innovate, Inspire and Thrive at Work, published by Publish Your Purpose Press in October 2021 now available in all your favorite stores.

I hope you’ll enjoy it. More importantly, I hope that this book makes you feel heard and reminds you that you are not alone.

The Journey

Like any new author at first, I hesitated. Am I qualified to author a book on creativity? There are thousands of books and researchers already done on this topic. Does the world really need one more book? What is the story and lens I could share that could help other people? I knew that something was needed because I felt like my voice was invisible as an innovator.

Most innovators or proclaimed experts did not look like me, nor have a background like me. They were mostly from traditional arts, psychology, academia, white, male, and famous. I was none of that (yet), and I knew I was creative and could be more. So, while I admired and loved the creativity, culture, leadership, and innovation books I had at home I knew there was a voice missing. But what can I write about? The answer was in a question my brother asked me. 

“Sister, do you really have to talk about your challenges, depressions or struggles you had in life? Isn’t this too personal?” said my brother in a concerned tone as he read my rough manuscript in Summer 2017. I understood his care and appreciated it very much. Even with all the increased awareness in empathy, compassion and kindness, leaders are still often portrayed to have figured things out and have all the answers. He asked this question in response to my opening chapter where I shared how creativity saved me from depression and tough times at work and helped me re-love the job I felt so stuck in – nuclear weapon security.

It was a very personal story and throughout the book I share many personal lenses to humanize the journey in hope to share how everyone can be more creative. You don’t need a title to be creative. And you can lead creatively as an executive too, even if you feel you don’t have time. This became one of the many reasons why I knew this voice had to be out there. I knew I was still learning but if I could help one more person find courage, curiosity and creativity that makes this journey worthwhile. 

So, I researched, reflected, wrote, and published my edition of Rethink Creativity in September 2018. I was humbled, I was excited, and it meant the world to know that I could help more people in my journey to creativity as well. 

That’s why when the opportunity to revisit Rethink Creativity came, I said yes and returned with some latest updates for this second edition for you.

What’s Different

While many aspects are familiar this second edition feels like a new book, even for me. It was another whole round of writing, editing and reflecting but also new components. There are things we added, edited, and things we have let go of. Here is a quick glance!

What we added What we let go of
  • New stories and research and we doubled the page numbers
  • New original illustrations with our mascots - curiosity, courage and creativity - to tell the stories and insights in a more playful, creative manner.
  • We also updated the book cover to accompany our illustrative style. And this animation we made to tell the story.
  • New original audiobook that I narrated and recorded, which our team at InnovatorsBox Studios edited and produced, accompanied by original soundtrack music made by my team, led by Luke Helder.
  • Created new worksheets to accompany the book so that readers could access more resources and tools.
  • To keep the new illustrative look consistent, we also let go of my original origami paper artwork. So, if you have the first edition, you’ll have the special upgraded colorful artwork to go with it.
  • With the updated cover art, we let go of the original version. 

Through all these changes and updates, what we have definitely kept intact is the mission and the work we do to make creativity accessible for all. Along with that, the note-pages that we had for you to scribble on and ideate in the first edition remain the same. And just like we did with the first, this second edition was also developed with same care and intention to help you unlock your creative mindset.

Why The Second Edition

I didn’t have to write it. I did it because I wanted to. And as I slowly began to rewrite and as I got into it, one thing led to the other and I decided to give it a full upgraded look.

First, the manuscript got a fresh look!

I first wrote this second edition draft in preparation of my Korean edition publishing with Kyobo Book Publishing in Fall 2019. While they loved my first edition of Rethink Creativity, they wanted to see more stories and references that the Korean leaders and professionals could resonate with. 

Creativity and innovation were important, but most saw them as a gift that selective few were born with and were not sure why investing time in being creative made a real difference in their lives. It was the very reason they knew they wanted this book. It was the very reason I wanted to be on this mission to unlock creativity for all. So, I went back to work. I wrote and rewrote and doubled the page numbers. In November 2020, during the pandemic, we published Rethink Creativity’s Korean edition which became an immediate success.

Many shared how this was a new frame and mindset they were waiting for and appreciated how they could have this new frame of mind, especially as we navigate these challenging times during the pandemic. So, as I caught up with readers who shared what they were hoping to hear and see more in Rethink Creativity, I knew what we needed to do. So I went back to the version that we never published in English. And edited and worked with our publisher to see how we could bring these new insights to empower more innovators like you.

Second, I wanted to give a visual and audio upgrade.

Around the time I was editing the book I realized how burnout and screen fatigue I was feeling like everyone else. Even though I LOVED reading and was buying a lot of books I would hold closer to contents that had audio and visual components for additional inspiration. It made me wonder… ‘if I were to upgrade my book, what are new ways I’d want to inspire my readers and feel like they could let their mind wander, be inspired, and feel play?’ 

Audiobook AVAILABLE

Having enjoyed the journey of launching our podcasts, music, and other visual content development I knew that it would be fun to give a new fresh audio and visual look so not only have we created our first audiobook but also included new original illustration looks throughout the book that you’ll see. Thanks to my talented team at InnovatorsBox Studios™ who makes everything more creative and colorful!

A few shoutouts: Thanks to the amazing team in audio editing, Sam Lehmart and Ravi Lad, who transformed the recordings I did in my closet into this superb quality, accompanied by the original music that Luke Helder created to help stories come to life.

Can you catch how many music pieces we made? I’m so excited to have also met Daryna Kudenko who illustrated all the artwork in the book as well as this introduction animation you see.

I hope this new upgraded edition will make your creativity and leadership book club feel more creative and colorful. Did I say playful as well? 🙂 

Third, I wanted to make this more accessible.

One of the reasons why creativity felt foreign to me was the access and relatability. To help billions of people access creativity learning, I wanted to reimagine how I could think of accessing book reading. What are ways I may come across Rethink Creativity and be inspired to want to learn about it? So, I explored every corner.

Making worksheets for InnovatorsBox, I thought… what if I had some worksheets for the book?

Finding new ways to make learning fun, I thought… what if learning was a game?

Making creativity accessible for youth, I thought… what if I write a children’s book?

This led me to producing all these different forms of content to make learning accessible and playful. I’m open to your thoughts. Are there other ways we should consider making creativity more accessible?

Can you guess how thrilled I’ve been, and how ecstatic I am that you’ll be reading this book? It’s the perfect gift to give yourself, your team, and your friends. Oh, and don’t forget about the holiday season of gift giving! You may now order signed copies here. 🙂

Since I first published Rethink Creativity in 2018, so much has changed yet so much has remained the same. And while the challenges we confront appear to remain the same, our desire for “us to be ourselves” has only increased.

For those who have not taken heed and changed the way we work are seeing the consequences – people leaving, quitting and the so-called Great Resignation – I envision is only the first wave of people asking we want a workplace that is centered around people. The old way of working was not working, and people are saying ‘enough is enough’.

This journey has shown me that most leaders and organizations genuinely want to do a better job, but they don’t know how to or where to begin. This is why, I wrote it for you, and why I hope you’ll like reading it and passing it along.

So, as I close my reflection, I have an ask for you, my dear friends. Yes, I’d love testimonials, book reviews, book sharing, book nomination and all to help unlock creativity for all together. But my most important ask is for you to be you.

Please, share your voice of creativity and curiosity in this world with courage. 

We need more color in this world. We need more courage, curiosity, and creativity. We need more people being themselves and speaking up, sharing ideas, and wondering what else we could do. We may not know what tomorrow brings, what we do know is we need more creativity to paint possibilities. 

Thank you for being you today and every day.

Excited to hear what creative journeys you continue to go on. Do share some back with me on my Instagram and Twitter too. 

Thank you for reading and reflecting. Have a wonderful creative journey ahead.

About the Author

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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