Are we ready to work and succeed in the fast changing world of business and civic life? Watch the opening of the Jetson’s cartoon TV show. Why is creativity the Number One skill and mindset sought by CEO’s for their managers?
These are the questions we address in a new class on creativity and business that I designed for The Stuart School of Business at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
This class looks at creativity from three broad perspectives:
- Personal creativity – how to think about this as a personal skill to be enhanced and trained
- Organizational creativity – why it is job #1 for EVERY organization and how we can systematically enhance the innovation outputs of the enterprises we work for
- Civic creativity – how to lift creativity and innovation into sustainable policies for our cities and regions
- Our goal was not just to KNOW about the role of creativity in the economy but to BE creative – to expand our creative capacities.
In the first offering of the class, we mixed presentations with performances. We had experts visit the class. We got up on our feet and did small group work and creativity exercises. We visited creativity hot spots around Chicago and learned from their leaders on how to make environments that nourish innovation. We learned about and worked on 13 distinct personal creativity competencies. Finally, students worked in teams on special projects and presented their research as performances during the last class before an invited audience. This class began on January 15, 2011. Our final class was on April 30 and we had four teams of students PERFORM their final projects. It was a spectacular display of applied creativity. Watch the performances here:
“Overall, it was truly an amazing experience. I have a lots of stories to tell my business associates what a creativity class in MBA school offers. I take this opportunity to congratulate you, Prof. Tresser, for being first to bring this to Stuart School of Business and looking forward to seeing it offered as ‘core’ course with some enhancements. Best of Luck!“
“Overall, great class. Wonderful change of pace from other classes. As we learned, it’s an important subject, too. I enjoyed the fact that the class furthered my personal development in addition to my professional development. Thanks!“
“Really thank you so much for the efforts you put on us this semester. I benefited a lot from this class. I hope to keep in touch with you forever. I will return to China by the end of August. If you come to China anytime in the future, please contact me.”
“Thank you for an awesome semester!”
“Thank you professor for this wonderful opportunity. It definitely was a brand new and a refreshing experience.”
“I definitely will miss your class. I hope I was a good and beneficial student to your class. It was a great experience for me I cannot thank you enough.” ————————————
We visited Collaboraction Theater and herd from Artistic Director Anthony Moseley. He shared his own story from All-State Athlete in high school to artistic director.
We visited the fantastic space for meetings, classes and creative retreats, the Catalyst Ranch and founder Eva Niewadomski told us how she grew the space over time and her approach to fostering creativity in business.
On February 22, 2012 Master Chef Jackie Shen visited our class.
On February 15, 2012 – Lisa Canning visited our class. Lisa is the founder and President of the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship, a new two-year program for artists and creative professionals who want to start their own business. It’s a new paradigm for business education. Lisa is a successful entrepreneur and has been operating arts-related business since she was 17!
On April 2, 2011 we had a distinguished panel to discuss the question of how to make Chicago the creativity hub of the nation and the planet. The panel was recorded by Mike Stephen for “Outside the Loop Radio” and can be heard here: http://tinyurl.com/ChicagoHub-Show
Tom was the lead off presenter for TEDxIIT on March 26. He presented “The Creativity Imperative.”
We produced the first workshop for business storytelling! It happened on April 22, 2011, 6-8pm at 565 W. Adams. Details at http://tinyurl.com/iitfestival.
Here’s one story (8 minutes) from Maddy, a finance student at IIT. It’s hilarious and has a real business moral!
Choreographer Darrell Jonesvisited the class on January 29! Here 20 minute video documenting his 60 minute workshop. He was able to talk about his own creative work, demonstrate his methods and get us up on our feet to BE creative as well as see how these methods apply to the business world! The slideshow below shows Darrell working with the students as well as the students using a set of cards to discover their thinking styles.
Fareed Zakaria did a special on CNN, June 5, 2011 – “Restoring the American Dream – How To Innovate.” He looked at how America compares to other countries in the race to innovate. Short answer = We are sucking. Listen to the last few minutes of the special we hear from innovation expert John Kao (author of “Innovation Nation”) and economist Paul Romer who tell us that EDUCATION is the key to our innovation success – and future economic equality and prosperity.
Here is the case statement for WHY a business school would want to offer such a class. Download the case as a PDF document.
THE CASE FOR A CLASS ON
“Creativity & Business”
THEY SOUGHT TO UNDERSTAND THE GREATEST CHALLENGES BEING FACED BY BUSINESS AND WHAT LEADERSHIP QUALITIES THEY SOUGHT TO MEET AND OVERCOME THOSE CHALLENGES.
#1 PROBLEM =
AND THE SOLUTION?
60% OF THE CEOS INTERVIEWED IDENTIFIED “CREATIVITY” AS THE NUMBER ONE LEADERSHIP QUALITY REQUIRED TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.
In a companion study, “Working Beyond Borders,” IBM collected data from over 700 companies in 61 countries and spoke to 600 senior global human resource leaders. Not surprisingly, CREATIVITY was their Number One concern, as well. Download the report as a pdf.