James F. Bandrowski earned his BE in chemical engineering from Villanova University, and went on to attain an MS in management science/industrial engineering from New Jersey Technical Institute, as well as an MBA from NYU. His career began with various research and engineering positions at Becton-Dickinson. He went on to serve as a management consultant with Stone & Webster Management Consultants, Senior Planner with Kaiser Industries, Director of Planning for Systron Donner, and Director of Planning for DiGiorgio Corporation.
In mathematics, amplitude is the measure of the height or depth of a wave, and determines the brightness of light (frequency determines the color), the loudness of sound (frequency determines pitch), the power of electricity (as in amperes), the force of ocean waves, and the strength and intensity of every other phenomenon in the universe.
Creativity often is described as combining previously unassociated ideas and objects into new concepts. Bandrowski’s background in scientific disciplines, study of creativity and innovation, research into psychology, work with sports performance enhancing methodologies, and his study of remarkable leaders and winning organizations, he says coalesced in his mind to arrive at his sine wave approach to intelligence and innovation, and the use of the term amplitude to quantify them.
As an R&D and manufacturing engineer at Becton-Dickinson in the early 1970s, he was awarded two patents and published an article in the Clinical Chemistry journal about advancements in using fluorometry in measuring blood chemistry. He began researching how other scientists and other types of innovators conceived new ideas, and created new products and business concepts. Paralleling this work, he also researched how top athletes achieved remarkable levels of performance, and mentally entered “the zone” to enable them to perform at their highest levels. In 1978, he published three audio programs, one each on the mental side of tennis, golf, and skiing. The programs taught how to relax and focus, which he described as dampening “emotional amplitude,” concentrating, and employing “mental rehearsal,” or envisioning the ideal skiing technique, tennis or golf shot. The programs were sold by Psychology Today magazine, and the Athletic Achievement Corporation. The tennis program received the endorsement of World Team Tennis in San Francisco.
While researching and infusing creativity and imagination into strategic planning at DiGiorgio Corporation in the early 1980s, he wrote a monograph entitled Creative Planning Starts at the Top, published by the Presidents Association of the American Management Association in 1983. In addition to describing his five-step Creative Planning Process, he introduced his model of “The Mind of a Creative Genius,” leveraging the work of Sigmund Freud and Transactional Analysis. He stated that productively creative people go through three steps in conceiving and refining ideas:  Analysis (by the ego, or adult in us);  Creativity (by the id, or child in us); and  Judgment (by the superego, or parent in us). In 1985, The American Management Association commissioned him to write a second monograph, entitled Creative Planning throughout the Organization, and distributed it to all 85,000 of its members at that time.
In the late 1980s, he continued to research how outstanding leaders and winning companies not only developed breakthrough strategies, but also how they successfully implemented them. He described this approach in his book, Corporate Imagination—Plus: Five Steps to Translating Innovative Strategies into Action, published in 1990 (Free Press /Simon & Schuster). This book presented the core of his strategic innovation model that described how creative leaders push two extremes in their thinking—to be idealistic and confident on the positive extreme, and seek deep strategic insights and root causes on the negative extreme—depicting these two thinking modes, plus implementation, as two cycles of a sine wave.Creative Planning Throughout the Organization (Amacon Books, 1986) ISBN 0-8144-2319-1
Corporate Imagination Plus (Free Press, 2000) ISBN 0-7432-0549-9
Tennis: The Mental Game (Audio Cassette) ISBN 0-89811-131-5
Bandrowski’s theory of leadership and innovation amplitude explains how outstanding leaders and organizations constructively employ extreme amplitude (both intellectual and emotional) in two directions, pushing them to the maximum as they cycle between them in a sine wave manner. This can enable them to conceive breakthrough strategies, attain competitive distinctions that fuel the success of organizations of all kinds, and occasionally develop industry-altering disruptive innovations, as coined by Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School. From 1990 to 2007, he states he presented his conclusions to over 10,000 CEOs, executives, and managers around the world, asking for their brutally honest feedback. He claims that an astonishing 99.9% of them stated they were in agreement that amplitude is what distinguishes remarkable leaders and organizations from average ones.99.9% agree amplitude distinguishes great leaders.
Bandrowsi points out that his model explains the expression “think out of the box”. He states “the box” is not just a metaphor—it is real, a low amplitude. And thinking outside the box can be both: (1) positive, making creative leaps as in generating wild ideas (the conventional use of the term); and (2) negative, penetrating through what he calls the ‘bottom of the box” into brutal honesty about oneself, the organization, unmet needs of customers, etc.
On the other hand, “in the box thinking” (a low amplitude) is not detrimental. On the contrary, it is crucial for successful leadership and innovation, because making decisions and promises, analyzing data, and executing to standard operating procedures should all take place in the box, in a neutral intellectual and emotional state—with little or no amplitude. Many poor decisions and broken promises result from making them with extreme positive (overly optimistic) or negative (overly pessimistic) amplitude. Bandrowski observes that many people are in the box when they should be out of it, and out of the box when they should be in it.
Bandrowski, James, and Hayden Curry narrating, Improving Your Tennis Game (#20200), Improving Your Golf Game (#20201), and Improving Your Golf Game (#20202), Psychology Today Cassettes, New York, 1978.
Bandrowski, James, Creative Planning Starts at the Top, Presidents Association of the American Management Association, New York, monograph, 46 pages, 1983.
Bandrowski, James, Creative Planning throughout the Organization, American Management Association, New York, monograph, 80 pages, 1985.
Bandrowski, James F., Corporate Imagination Plus: Five Steps to Translating Innovative Strategies into Action, Free Press imprint of Simon & Schuster, New York, 1990, 313 pages.
Bandrowski, Jim, Twelve Steps to Leadership Greatness, Vistage, San Diego, website, June 2009.
Jim Bandrowski lives in Danville, CA with his wife and twin teenage sons.