Coach Pete Among Authors of New Book "Wise Beyond Your Field"
Coach Pete and "The Gang"

March 26, 2013

A new book from Boise State University features some of Boise's highest performing organizations - from football to law enforcement to dance - and offers advice for leaders of all types.

The release of "Wise Beyond Your Field: How Creative Leaders Out Innovate to Out Perform" was announced during a press conference on the Boise State campus this afternoon that featured the authors along with Boise State President Bob Kustra. Published by Boise State's CCI Press in the Centre for Creativity and Innovation, it is available for $15 online at A portion of the book proceeds will go to scholarships for Boise State University students.

The book is authored by Nancy Napier, professor of business and executive director of the CCI, along with Boise State head football coach Chris Petersen, Jamie Cooper from Drake Cooper, Mark Hofflund of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Don Kemper of Healthwise, Bob Lokken of WhiteCloud Analytics, Gary Raney of the Ada County Sheriff's Office, and John Michael Schert of Trey McIntryre Project. The group is known collectively as "The Gang."

"Many books talk about creativity - mostly for individuals, some for companies and a few for countries," Napier said. "Some try to transfer lessons from one field to a very different one; the sports-to-business transfers are likely the most common. But almost none looks at how leaders from several wildly different fields can learn from one another to improve leadership and boost organizational performance."

"Wise Beyond Your Field" provides an inside look at what leaders in selected high-performing, highly creative organizations across diverse fields have learned, and continue to learn, from each other in order to push their organizations to ever higher levels of performance. Chapters are authored by various members of The Gang. Napier first began working with members of The Gang in 2006. The group meets regularly to share insights and has gained notoriety and attention in the national media, including USA Today and The Washington Post, and has done radio interviews and speaking engagements with groups such as the American College of Physician Executives and NASA.

Each organization in The Gang epitomizes the qualities of outstanding creative learning organizations: constant curiosity, non-defensiveness in examining their successes and mistakes, relentless attention to building and preserving strong cultures, and a disciplined approach toward creativity and innovation. Some of The Gang members' achievements include:

• Ada County Sheriff Raney has taught in Northwestern University's leadership program and is developing new approaches to problems such as inmate housing and communication.

• The Boise State University football program consistently ranks in the top 25 programs nationally, often in the top 10, despite its often much lower level of financial resources than competitor schools.

• Drake Cooper frequently wins regional and national advertising awards and has built a powerhouse of creative output for a range of clients.

• Healthwise is a nonprofit health information provider that has led the industry in helping people take responsibility for their own health decisions and was named by the Wall Street Journal in 2007 as one of the best small businesses to work for.

• The Idaho Shakespeare Festival has been the focus of a Yale Drama School case study evaluating the theater's unusual business model, which brings unique financial and creative benefits.

• Trey McIntyre Project is a renowned contemporary dance company that spends half the year touring worldwide and receives rave reviews in such publications as The Washington Post, Le Monde and The New York Times.

• WhiteCloud Analytics focuses on helping the U.S. health care industry use its data to dramatically reduce waste and increase the constancy and quality of patient care. Its CEO sold an earlier firm he founded, ProClarity, to the world's largest software company- Microsoft.

"We guarantee we will take you out of your field, whatever it may be, and put you squarely into places you never expected to be," Napier said. "You'll find ways to apply ideas that may be routine in one field but out of the blue for yours. And you'll realize that many of the concerns and challenges facing leaders from wildly diverse areas may in fact be more similar than you thought."

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