Centro de Documentación Publicitaria


Alex Faickney Osborn

24 de mayo de 1888 - 13 de mayo de 1966

Nace en el Bronks, New York. Su esposa se llamaba Helen Coatsworth, con la que tiene cinco hijos: Katharine, Joan, Marion, Russell, and Elinor.

Co-Founder & Former Vice President, Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborn (BBDO). Alex F. Osborn helped found Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborn in 1919 and served as its executive vice president and general manager from 1938 to 1945 when he became vice chairman of the board. But this success and prestige at the pinnacle of the advertising industry did not satisfy his ambition completely.

He spent much of his life pioneering in the broader realms of idea development - teaching how to think creatively. He began with a manual he compiled on how to solve merchandising problems. This grew into the book How to Think Up and was followed by Your Creative Power, Make Up Your Mind and The Gold Mine Between Your Ears - each of which was translated into numerous foreign languages and sold widely.

He devoted the last decade of his life to promoting the Creative Education Foundation, which he financed by assigning to it the royalties from his books. The University of Buffalo and other universities established courses in creativity and by 1965 there existed campus courses applying his techniques in fields as far apart as architecture, animal husbandry, novel writing and police training. The Post Office Department issued a manual on the subject and the Air Force put 50,000 reserve officers through training in creative thinking on 300 campuses.

He is generally credited with creating such phrases as "brainstorming" and "creative imagination." The diversity of his interests, including avid participation in the University of Buffalo, fine arts, painting, hospital and other charitable causes, displayed the breadth of a citizen who made his mark by initiating and practicing the principles of creative living.

Alex Faickney Osborn (May 24, 1888 - May 13, 1966) was an advertising manager and the author of the creativity technique named brainstorming.

Osborn was born in the Bronx and spent his childhood in New York, attending Morris High School (Bronx, New York) where he played football and was a member of the Omega Gamma Delta fraternity. He was a graduate of Hamilton College, where he had worked for the school newspaper.

Upon graduation, Osborn attempted a career in journalism in Buffalo, New York, and worked at the Buffalo Times and the Buffalo Express, though he was fired from the latter due to a supposed lack of aptitude. Osborn then worked a variety of jobs, which included working for a milling company as a statistician, doing publicity for the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce and working as a salesman for the Hard Manufacturing Company.

He then joined the E. P. Remington agency in Buffalo, an in-house advertising agency for a patent medicine maker, where he was appointed as new business manager. While working there, he did teaching jobs on the side, including lecturing on psychology for Ford Motor Company, and on advertising at the YMCA.

In 1919, Osborn joined with Bruce Fairchild Barton and Roy Sarles Durstine to form the BDO advertising agency. Osborn acted as manager of BDO's Buffalo branch.

He was largely responsible for the 1928 merger of BDO with the George Batten Company to create BBDO.

After years of success and having survived the Great Depression, BBDO underwent a crisis in 1938, losing many of its clients and key personnel. Osborn commuted to New York City and eventually saved the company by securing the Goodrich tire account. In 1939, he became BBDO's executive vice president after Durstine resigned. Osborn was crucial in recruiting many top employees, including Ben Duffy, who eventually became the president of BBDO.

Osborn became increasingly active as an author, and published several books on creative thinking. In 1948, Your Creative Power was published, in which Osborn presented the technique of Brainstorming, which had been in use for many years at BBDO. Eventually, Osborn's writing career overtook his work in advertising, and in 1960, after more than forty years, he resigned from BBDO's board of directors.

In 1954, Osborn created the Creative Education Foundation, which was sustained by the royalties earned from his books. Along with Sidney Parnes, Osborn developed the Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving Process (commonly referred to as CPS). He co-founded the Creative Education Foundation's Creative Problem Solving Institute, the world's longest-running international creativity conference, and CPS has been taught at that conference as well as year-round in other venues for more than 50 years.

1921 A Short Course in Advertising, C. Scribner's sons.
1942 How to "Think Up", McGraw-Hill.
1948 Your Creative Power, C. Scribner's sons.
1952 Wake Up Your Mind, C. Scribner's sons.
* Osborn, Alex (1953). Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem Solving. New York, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. ISBN 978-0023895203.
1955 The Goldmine Between Your Ears, C. Scribner's sons.

Osborn also contributed frequently to trade publications such as Printer's Ink.

On September 5, 1916 he married Helen Coatsworth, the daughter of a wealthy Buffalo lawyer. They had five children: Katharine, Joan, Marion, Russell, and Elinor. He died of a blood deficiency in Buffalo on 13 May 1966.

Fuente: Wikipedia.

Alex F. Osborn was born in New York City, May 24, 1888, son of John and Kate Osborn. His capacity for generating ideas was first recorded in his 1948 book, Your Creative Power and described a situation that occurred in 1894, when he was 6 years of age. He was awakened one night by the sound of his mother and father talking in another room. His father was about to lose his job and had not saved enough money to live on for more than a few months. Eventually, the parents went to sleep, but the boy stayed awake until about four o'clock in the morning. Alex then went to his mom and dad's bedroom, woke them up and said, "I heard you and Mama talking, and I couldn't get back to sleep. Don't worry about money. Remember that box of pencils you gave me last Christmas? I still have them, and I'll go down on the corner and sell them for five cents apiece - so we will be all right."

After receiving his preliminary education at public schools in New York City, Alex was graduated Ph.B. in 1909 and Ph.M. in 1921 at Hamilton College. His first job was as a reporter for the Buffalo (N.Y.) Times in 1909 followed by a stint with the Buffalo Express during the following two years. He was assistant secretary of the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce in 1911-12, and sales manager of the Hard Manufacturing Company in Buffalo from 1912 to 1915. In 1915, he entered the field of advertising as manager of the E. P. Remington Advertising Co. in Buffalo. During World War I, he worked as a volunteer for the United War Work campaign and there met a young writer, Bruce Barton and a fellow advertising man, Roy Durstine. He was married in Buffalo, September 5, 1916, to Helen, daughter of lawyer Edward Emerson Coatsworth, and had five children: Katharine, Joan, Marion, Russell Barton, and Elinor.

In 1919, Alex Osborn co-founded the advertising agency of Barton, Durstine and Osborn, New York City with fellow war bond promoters Bruce Barton and Roy Durstine. In 1928, the firm was merged with the George Batten Co. to form Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn. Inc. - BBD&O. As an agency with the flexibility for new ideas, the company seized the new medium of radio, writing and producing some of the great programs of the era and enjoyed amazing success. They attracted a client list that was the envy of the industry. Then in 1939, almost without warning, the great agency found itself facing a terrible problem. Profits had vanished. Roy Durstine, who was managing the business in New York City and who had the primary relationship with most of the key clients left the agency to start his own. Many believed BBD&O would close its doors for good. It was then that Alex's lifelong interest and "hobby" - the understanding and encouragement of creative thinking - was desperately needed. Under Alex's management, the process of brainstorming was instituted and developed at BBDO utilizing a Vice President of Brainstorming to solve the many business and personnel problems that the agency faced. This divergent thinking technique for groups eventually became a keystone in the process of Creative Problem Solving or CPS. BBD&O was the laboratory, and necessity played the mother to invention of a whole new approach to generating solutions and putting them into action.

Alex found that conventional business meetings were inhibiting the creation of new ideas and proposed some rules designed to change that. He was looking for rules that would give people the freedom of mind and action to spark off and reveal new ideas. To "think up" was originally the term he used to describe the process he developed, and that in turn came to be known as "brainstorming". He described brainstorming as "a conference technique by which a group attempts to find a solution for a specific problem by amassing all the ideas spontaneously by its members". The rules he came up with are the following:

-No criticism of ideas.
-Go for large quantities of ideas.
-Build on each other's ideas.
-Encourage wild and exaggerated ideas.

He found that when these rules were followed, a lot more ideas were created. A greater quantity of original ideas gave rise to a greater quantity of useful ideas. Quantity produced quality. People's natural inhibitions about producing ideas that might be considered "wrong" or "stupid" were reduced. Osborn also found that generating "silly" ideas could spark off very useful ideas because they changed the way people thought. With increasing refinement of the process, and the introduction of creative thinking techniques, this original technique was revolutionary in problem solving. For seven years after this discovery, Alex commuted 400 miles each way from his home in Buffalo to New York City each week, checking in and out of the Roosevelt Hotel and using the incubation time on the tracks, writing and developing the systemized approach that would contribute to BBD&O's turnaround and return it to a position in the top five worldwide advertising agencies that it enjoys to this day.

The two landmark books Alex produced as a result of this period were Your Creative Power (1948) and Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Thinking (1953). Applied Imagination has been used as a textbook in colleges, has had several editions, and has been translated into five foreign languages. Other books written by Alex are Short Course in Advertising (1921), How to Think Up (1942), Wake up Your Mind (1952), The Goldmine Between Your Ears (1955), and How to Become More Creative (1964). He also contributed articles to the Reader's Digest, the Christian Herald, and other publications.

In 1954 Alex Osborn established the Creative Education Foundation, Buffalo, and served as its president until the close of his life. He assigned the royalties from his books to finance the foundation, through which he disseminated his concepts for creative thinking, and supplemented formal education in this area. The foundation's literature, designed to encourage original ideas, was distributed to thousands of college students and to people in industry and business. In 1955 the first Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI) was held. In attendance was Dr. Sidney Parnes from the University of Pittsburgh, who soon became Alex's collaborator. Parnes contributed to the academic framework that Creative Problem Solving needed in order to garner acceptance by colleges and other educational forums. Today the process they developed, from which most deliberate creativity processes have blossomed, is known as the Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving Process.

Around this time, Alex took up a hobby he loved the remainder of his life: oil painting. He had been told as a child that he could not draw, and believing he had no talent, never tried. At the age of 53, he challenged that belief, and enjoyed this pastime the rest of his life. In 1966, Alex's remarkable life ended. A note in the BBDO Newsletter stated, "Alex Osborn spent his entire life being creative and curious. It was typical of him that he permitted researchers at Buffalo's Roswell Park Memorial Institute to give him experimental drugs in their quest for a cure for the rare ailment that claimed him on May 5th just short of his 78th Birthday." In January of 1967, the Journal of Creative Behavior was first published, furthering the process of researching, measuring and reporting the results of using deliberate creativity tools and processes across a vast array of applications and uses.

Fuente: Journal of Creative Behavior, Volume 38, Number 1 / First Quarter 2004. creativeeducationfoundation.org