Creativity Courses on the Rise at Business Schools

I can’t help but be amazed by how many business people are catching the ‘creativity germ’.  Not surprising given the growing interest and focus on innovation. So the market is there, demand is growing and business schools are responding by offering creativity-related programs and courses.  I wonder if they are all teaching the same fundamentals like they would in marketing or finance.
Jo Yudess a doctoral candidate and managing editor of the Journal Creative Behavior,  also teaches at the International Center for Studies in Creativity. She is researching the expansion of creativity-related courses in higher ed.  Can’t wait to see her results.  At last count she mentioned more than 50 programs.
Prior to her work evidence of the spread of creativity courses in higher education was reported in the 2005 – 06.

All I want to be

Two links for your review. The first is from Business Week in 2006 entitled “Creativity comes to B-School.” Yale School of Management is mentioned as a leader in the field. The article questions if creativity in business schools is a good thing or not.

Innovation and creativity courses were slow to catch on but have spread like wildfire. Only 29% of MBA and EMBA programs have freestanding courses in creativity and innovation, according to a Kennesaw State University study released in November, but the number of schools offering these courses has doubled in the past five years, and nearly 92% of those that did not have a course or module said they were at least somewhat likely to offer one in the next five years.

Clearly, schools are trying to keep up with the real world. The best job candidates in the future will possess a creative ability that comes from working with different kinds of people on challenging projects, says Bob Sutton, professor of engineering at Stanford and author of the book, Weird Ideas that Work (Simon & Schuster, 2002). “If you just have an MBA, that’s nice, but it’s not enough,” he argues.

and

“There is research suggesting increased reliance on creatively stimulated growth among leaders. Nearly three-quarters of executives surveyed by Boston Consulting Group in their 2005 innovation survey said their companies will increase spending on innovation, up from 64% in 2004. Almost 90% of the execs surveyed said that generating organic growth through innovation has become essential for success in their industry.”

This second link takes you directly to a 2005 article “A Survey of Creativity Courses at Universities in Principal Countries” from the Journal of Creative Behavior. Authors Fanqui Xu, Ginny Mcdonnell and William R. Nash reviewed creativity courses and programs offered at universities in Europe, North America, Japan, and China. They found courses and programs in creativity occurring in a variety of disciplines, most frequently in fields of business; education and psychology; and engineering, science, and technology. Their paper provides information about course and program titles, characteristics, and instructors.
Again, are the same fundamentals being taught, is that important?
Here’s a direct quote from their introduction.

In 1967, the Stanford Research Institute conducted a survey to investigate the status of creativity and problem-solving courses at different universities. The survey revealed that while nine universities or colleges offered courses to cover these topics, only one institution had developed a full-time course on creativity (Edwards, 1967).

Today, creativity is studied not only in the United States, but also in many countries throughout the world.

How many courses in do you think they would find?  Guesses anyone? Jo?
Creativity is becoming mainstream instead of being on the fringe. That’s good, right?

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