Creativity, Business Innovation and Networks

Dr Stefano Tasselli
Dr Davide Bavato

Innovation and creativity are often seen as crucial for individual success and companies’ performance, and indeed for economic growth and social development. Business innovation is broader in scope than product or technological innovation, as it also involves changes to organizational processes, structures and services. Creativity is a central aspect of innovation, as it drives the generation of new ideas and behaviours. Thus, studying creativity is crucial for understanding how individuals contribute to innovation performances of organizations. Yet, many questions remain open. How can firms, and the managers within firms, organize their innovation activities? How can we become more creative? Do innovative ideas prevail in the market? If not, what else matters for success?

This course will address the above topics taking you through a journey from the creative processes within our minds to the management of innovation within organisations. The first component will explore the challenges and opportunities offered by the management of innovation. We will investigate different types of business innovation, and focus on the innovation process firms undergo to develop and introduce a new product or service to the market. We will then examine examples of organizational and operational innovations and discuss the role of entrepreneurship in innovation management.

In the second component we will look closely at the feedstock of innovation – creativity. In the lectures we will dissect the key elements of creative work, and learn what we can do as individuals and groups to generate more and better ideas. We will then examine the conditions under which creative ideas are successfully recognised and adopted. In the seminars, we will run practical activities to stimulate creativity and to experience what we learned in the lectures.

In both components, we will emphasize the relational aspects of innovation and creativity: innovation does not happen in isolation. People become creative, and generate innovation, through processes of social interaction with others. We will therefore explore the power of social networks in fostering individual creativity and facilitate business innovation.

Intended Audience

This course is open to students from different academic backgrounds, who share a strong interest for entrepreneurship, technological and social innovation, and creative industries. The course will help students who want to understand how to untap the potential of individuals and organizations, by understanding the organizational theories and social mechanisms behind the generation and adoption of new ideas.

Previous Knowledge

Previous knowledge of business, psychology, sociology, social sciences or philosophy is not required, but may be an advantage.

Transferable Knowledge and Skills

The topics covered in this course are strongly related to introductory courses on business innovation, creativity and creative thinking, entrepreneurship, project management, and social network analysis.