Teaching creativity

A forthcoming study from the Creativity & Innovation Project at the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University finds that while students in MBA programs -- and the people hoping to hire them upon graduation -- say creativity courses are valued and desired, MBA programs around the country have been slow to offer such courses.

The 2005 Benchmark Study on Creativity and Innovation Curricula Among American Business Schools surveyed 117 accredited MBA programs around the country. According to a press release about the results, the survey found that about half of the MBA programs surveyed teach "some type of elementary creativity and innovation module or course, and only one-third of these business schools have freestanding courses."

Further, "among the schools lacking a course or module in creative thinking, 59% are likely to offer a course or module within the next five years, but 41% have no such plans."

Creativity obviously is a buzz word that can be injected into any conversation in an attempt to seem plugged in, and calling a part of the curriculum a "creativity module" doesn't make it so. But it's clear that the leaders of tomorrow are going to need different skills than those of today, and so perhaps these schools need to rethink their programs. Then again, the courses already are there; one need look no further than to the liberal arts catalog to find dozens of courses that help to teach creativity. Maybe what is needed is more cross-discipline cooperation and hybrid programs that will turn out people who are creative, business savvy and world wise.


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