Remembering Dr. Arthur B. VanGundy

Arthur B. (Andy) VanGundy
May 24, 1946 ~ May 5, 2009

VanGundyAndy was a friend, mentor, colleague and co-author of our creative collaboration: Orchestrating Collaboration at Work. We first met online about 10 years ago, and one thing led to another. Prolific emails, long phone calls, and a shared  passion for creativity. As we got to know each other I dreamed of writing a book with him, and shortly after that my dream came true. He asked me to collaborate with him on arts-based training book.

I am so grateful Andy has given me the opportunity to collaborate with him, because I’m sure if I did this alone, I would never have gotten past the publisher’s five pages of instructions for preparing a proposal. I had no idea what I was in for when we started this book and, I am happy to say- for the most part-the whole process has been very enjoyable. So enjoyable, in fact, I have examined how it is that we work so well together – we don’t even live in the same country.

Some statistics regarding our collaboration for this project:

Number of face-to-face meetings: 0
Number of phone calls: 6
Number of emails: 2,500

And some observations:

  1. We collaborate well because we each have complementary skills necessary for the success of the project. While each of us probably could produce this book on our own, it would be much more difficult to do so. This makes each of us valuable to the other.
  2. We clearly defined our roles, duties and deliverables at the onset, to avoid future misunderstandings. We also religiously follow-up and follow through, so we can count on each other.
  3. Respect for each other is part of the foundation of our association. So, when we make errors, we don’t kill each other! We respond instead with compassion. We respect each other’s opinions and treat each other’s ideas with care-even if we don’t always agree with each other.
  4. We constantly inject humour into our communications, which is so important to the collaborative process-especially in an online environment.

An example:

L.     “Andy, what is a white paper? and don’t get smart on me… ;-)”

A.    “Curses!! You set me up like that and then yank the rug right out.”

L      “A master fencer anticipates the moves of an opponent even when blindfolded.”

A.    “Touche!!”

We also agreed early on to avoid sarcasm.

  1. There is a quality of care in our partnership that gives each of us permission to be fully human. Neither of us feels judged when our human foibles surface. This quality of care dramatically impacts the quality of my own work and significantly reduces stress levels when we are under pressure. This creates a sort of “us against the world” camaraderie.

Bless you Andy, and thank you for your friendship, guidance, humour and creativity.

Arthur B. VanGundy Ph.D. was Professor of Communication at the University of Oklahoma from 1976 – 2008. He was Board Member at Creative Oklahoma, Inc., and a Leader at Creative Education Foundation.  He wrote the creativity training program for the American Management Association and the creativity chapter for The American Marketing Association’s Marketing Encyclopedia.

He was a pioneer on idea generation techniques and wrote eleven books including: Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, Idea Power, and Brain Boosters for Business Advantage.

Visit Amazon to see complete list of Arthur B. VanGundy’s books

His books have been cited over 100 times in such journals as:
Management Science,
Decision Sciences,
Academy of Management Journal,
The Journal of Product Innovation Management,
Journal of Advertising Research,
Psychology Today


About the Author:

Linda is founder of Creativity at Work and co-author of Orchestrating Collaboration at Work. She helps executives and their teams develop creativity, innovation, and leadership capabilities, through coaching, training and consulting. Linda brings a multi-disciplinary approach to learning and development by leveraging arts-based practices to foster creativity at work, and design thinking as a strategy for innovation.


  1. Joe Messina September 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    I have referenced and gifted Dr. VanGundy’s book “Getting to Innovation” many-many times over the past 4 years, and each time I think what a wonderful legacy this man has left for those of us that struggle every day to be and to help others be creative. Thank you for that touching (and lesson-filled) description of the collaboration rules you shared and enjoyed.

  2. Tudor Rickards May 15, 2009 at 5:43 am

    It was with deep regret and shock that I learned of Andy’s death. The new was spreading rapidly through the international community of creativity researchers and practitioners, among whom Andy was such a distinguished member.

    Andy and I met from time to time, and I was always impressed by his knowledge (which he wore lightly) and his warmth and interest in so many things.

    When I asked him to write a forward for Creative and the Management of Change he did better than the usual euphemisms, and demonstrated in a few paragraphs what creativity is all about, and how it might be stimulated.

    He will be sorely missed.

    Tudor Rickards
    Manchester Business School

  3. Bobbie Soeder May 13, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    I never had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Van Gundy – only through the amazing book you wrote together. This is the most beautiful description of an eloquent and touching collaboration that created a masterpiece for us all to enjoy and learn from now and through the years. Itâ??s the epitome of collaboration.

    Our sad condolences to you Linda, and the Van Gundy family.
    Your friends at Catalyst Ranch

  4. Bill Torregrossa May 13, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Andy gave several Creativity Workshops to our Hershey Chocolate R&D staff in 1992. I still have the image of the scientist’s faces after Andy asked them to come up with 50 uses for a tinfoil ashtray. I can vividly remember our lunches during the time-always fun and stimulating. Andy was also instrumental in our design of Hershey’s first “Creativity Room” in which many new products were developed. His book “Techniques of Structured Problem Solving” is a must have. Andy will always be remembered for his keen sense of humor and playful manner.

  5. Sarah VanGundy May 13, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I am so pleased that my dad will go on living in the memories of his colleagues and friends, just as he will in the memories, stories, and jokes of his family. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful stories!

    Sarah VanGundy

  6. Alan (Robert Alan Black, Ph.D., CSP) May 12, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Andy and I began our friendship in 1988 at CPSI when we had dorm rooms across the hall from each other. That CPSI we promoted each other’s books. Then year after year we spent time laughing and sharing ideas at CPSI as our friendship grew.

    In 1995 I was one of the primary contributors to Andy’s first 101 Games books. In 1998 I was one of three authors of the 101 More Games books.

    When he was editor of CPSI/CEF’s Creativity in Action newsletter, originated by Sid Shore many years before, I was one of his regular contributing authors.

    Over the 21 years we have known each other we corresponded by mail and email and phone often and worked on many projects together.

    I will miss his laugh, his humor, his smile, his friendship.

    Goodbye Andy

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