Entrepreneurial Creativity: What’s the Purpose?

This post is the first in our series on Entrepreneurial Creativity by faculty lecturer in Literature, Sciences and the Arts Eric Fretz. Fretz teaches UC 270: Entrepreneurial Creativity, one of the core courses in the minor in entrepreneurship. 

UC 270 Entrepreneurial Creativity was developed to serve as one of two core courses in the minor in entrepreneurship, and to fill a gap in the arc of available courses related to the larger process of entrepreneurship.  The course focuses on creativity as one of the core components of the entrepreneurial process, approaching it from the discipline of psychology.  The course deliberately avoids much of the “startup/business skill” content covered so well in so many other courses.  During the course, students are assisted in developing their own working definition of creativity, taking into consideration many related or component terms.  We spend some time considering the common facets of “Big-C” creatives throughout history, and what, if any, of that might apply to any student’s quest for entrepreneurial glory.

As they engage the three phases of the course, the students learn about creativity at the individual level, reviewing and taking personal assessments on topics like:  Intelligence, Expertise, Big5 personality traits, Divergent Thinking, EQ, MBTI, and GRIT.  We seek to get a solid understanding of these concepts and see how they inter-relate around and through the process of creativity (from the personal level to the domain/world-changing level).  Students then review research and themes related to encouraging and maximizing creativity while working in groups.  Finally, the course addresses the issue of team leadership, and the unique issues that arise when leading creative teams in particular.

From the beginning of the course, students form teams and brainstorm a concept for their creative project (this project doesn’t have to be a business, but it can be).  Teams are normally 3-4 students and the creative project HAS NO PRE-SET BOUNDARIES.  The team must have an idea that I deem both challenging and reasonably possible (to get it approved), and then they must apply what we learn in the course to work creatively and productively as a team to produce something impressive (which is then shared in a group report-out session at the end of the course).   Time for group meetings is included at least once a week during lecture.  Teams deliver anything from a patent to tangible products. Every team is unique, but they share the goal to “impress the class!”

It is important to note that some teams fail in their project, and some fail repeatedly and these teams can still get an A!  You just need to fail with style and be ferocious in your rebound.  The focus in this course is developing a more robust understanding of creativity (and its components and how to encourage it) AND improving your team and leadership skills.

Find out more about UC 270 and the minor in entrepreneurship.

 

 

 

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