Creative Business Thinking: finale

It’s all about using constraints to be more creative.  That was one of the final messages that Balder left the students with during the Creative Business Thinking finale.

Looking into the idea of constraints and creativity unearths some good back-up research.  For example, from a team at the University of Amsterdam.

Their work is summarized in the abstract above.  Stepping back to see the big picture: when obstacles elicit global processing. Marguc J, Förster J, Van Kleef GA.

They ran 6 studies around these questions:

Can obstacles prompt people to look at the “big picture” and open up their minds? Do the cognitive effects of obstacles extend beyond the tasks with which they interfere?

Results suggest that obstacles trigger an “if obstacle, then start global processing” response, primarily when people are inclined to stay engaged and finish ongoing activities. Implications for dealing with life’s obstacles and related research are discussed.

What I observed in the students was a learning around a new tool — adding and removing constraints from their problem scope changed the way they thought about the problem — and thus opened their minds to new paths.  Great!

Here are some quotes from the general feedback about Creative Business Thinking:
“This is probably the best class I have taken at Sauder…each class was exhausting and illuminating.”
“It gave creative thinking a structure and scientific backbone that allows it to gain functionality and respect. There is an art to facilitating this type of thinking and problem solving.”
“Throughout the course I have started to think about conventional business areas in which creativity techniques can add value: corporate strategy, human resources and contract negotiations.”
“Applying this model in the real Coloplast case reflected the effectiveness of this thinking process in terms of exploring divergent and convergent possibilities for delivering the most practical solutions within given constraints.”
“The process and tools that we were taught and applied in creative business thinking helped to provide a framework which can be reapplied to pretty much any situation.”

What a success!  This MBA module really put design strategy and thinking strategy into practice for the MBAs.  I learned a ton about what worked and what didn’t.  And it was very useful to have the perspective of Balder and Morten in terms of their approaches to design and creativity.

I wish that they could be colleagues at UBC Sauder.  They would really add to our program.  I am fortunate to be having dinner with them tomorrow night in Copenhagen and am hoping to figure out a way to have them “Skype in” to introduce their approaches to the new incoming MBA Students.

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