Dr. Keith Sawyer, a psychologist, professor, jazz pianist, and former videogame designer, is one of the world’s leading experts on creativity. He is the Morgan Distinguished Professor in Educational Innovations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
After receiving a degree in computer science from MIT, Sawyer’s first job was designing videogames for Atari. He then returned to graduate school and studied with world-famous creativity researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi at the University of Chicago. Since receiving his Ph.D. in 1994, Sawyer has dedicated his career to research on creativity. He has published seventeen books—including the most widely used textbook for college courses on creativity research, Explaining Creativity—and has authored over 120 scientific articles. He is often asked to speak and consult on how to foster greater creativity and collaboration.And now for the interesting stuff! Sawyer has been a jazz pianist for over 30 years, and spent several years playing piano with Chicago improv theater groups. In his first summer job in high school, he was the costumed character “Buford Beaver” at the Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is the proud owner of a collection of vintage Grateful Dead bootleg tapes, his childhood piano teacher’s old (but working) accordion, and a 1982 BMW motorcycle (also working just fine, thank you).