Half-Course: Managing for Creativity
Course Number 1685
Professor Teresa M. Amabile
Early Winter, 15 Session half-course
Enrollment: Students may choose HC: MFC for 1.5 credits or FSS: MFC for 3 credits
Half-Course: Managing for Creativity (HC: MFC) is a half-course earning 1.5 credits. It requires attendance in 15 class sessions during the first half of the Winter Term, plus a self-scheduled final exam.
Students who wish to explore this topic in greater depth can enroll instead in the full-course, Field Study Seminar on Managing for Creativity (Course #6680). Students enrolled in the Seminar will attend the same 15 class sessions as those taking the half-course, HC:MFC, but instead of a final exam, they will complete a field-based project of their own choosing in the second half of the Winter term.
This course is for students who want to build creative businesses in new or existing firms; foster effective, innovative work in the people they lead; and preserve their own creativity in the face of career pressures and organizational constraints.
Creativity is the development of novel, useful ideas in any human activity. Innovation is the successful implementation of those ideas. In a world of accelerating change and fleeting opportunity, creativity and innovation are critical aspects of every manager's job. They are particularly important for entrepreneurs, given the need for inventiveness in situations where standard approaches often fail, where no formulas for success exist, and where one good idea must be closely followed by another.
MFC is designed to help you develop your own creativity, apply creative ideas in entrepreneurial ventures, and support the creativity of the people you lead. You will learn to recognize, analyze, and support creative behavior in organizations in a wide variety of industries (not limited to stereotypically "creative" industries). In addition, you will learn specific techniques for stimulating productive creativity in yourself and others. The underlying assumptions of the course are that (1) all people are capable of creativity, (2) virtually anyone's creativity can be enhanced, (3) creativity is relevant to all entrepreneurial activities, and (4) businesses are more successful when they apply creative ideas to a wide variety of activities.
We will explore these ideas by delving into the people and situations of diverse creativity stories, including: the inventor of television; the pair of new MBA graduates launching an educational media company; the serial entrepreneur reinventing himself for the fifth time; the Grammy-award-winning banjo player growing her own record company; the consumer products giant developing a tiny creative think-tank within its walls; the product development leader dealing with intense conflict between his most creative engineers; and the advertising firm inventing a system for managing creative work.
MFC emphasizes individual psychology, motivation, leadership, organizational behavior, and human resource management. Much of the learning in this course is experiential, involving activities such as understanding your own creative style and identifying your ideal work environment for creativity.
Course Content and Organization
The course has three modules:
- Module 1: Entrepreneurship: Creativity and Innovation in Business
- Module 2: Stimulating Creativity in Yourself and Others
- Module 3: Managing Organizations for Positive Creativity
MFC features a number of guests, many of them case protagonists. In addition to cases, the course materials include articles from various sources, videos, research summaries, notes, individual exercises, and group exercises.