Year 2 @ LU London: Creative Innovation

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Today marks the official start of year 2 at Loughborough University London. We welcome our new cohort of students at Programme Day, where they will be introduced to their programme directors and be offered way more information than is able to be digested in one short period, to go away and process and come back next week ready to be immersed in an intensive educational experience. Or so we hope.

I begin this year with a new responsibility, as the Programme Director of the largest progamme on the campus, MSc Managing Innovation in Creative Organisations. This programme is a joint entrepreneurship/innovation management programme with design, meaning that the students are exposed both to new venture creation concepts, innovation management theories, and design thinking strategies, to help support them in their pursuit of creative (ad)ventures. My role is to oversee the programme as a whole, make sure it hangs together well, that it delivers what it says on the tin and in doing so meets or exceeds student expectations.

Yesterday it occurred to me, after some recent observation and reflections, that creatives are really not like other people (forgive the cliché). We don’t wait to be told; we are moved by some internal motivation, to get up and do, to respond to our surroundings, to improve them with our own contribution. We do not linger in our own discontent, we actively seek out paths that lead to spaces where we feel free. Thus, typical carrot-and-stick management processes fail with us. The more you try to measure our output, the greater our resistance! Innovation within creative organisations must then necessarily be non-typical, and needs to account for, and be open to, the needs of highly creative people, and find ways not to capture their output, but to set it free. I hope to find a way to convey this today, to energise my students with this message so that it frames their experience with us here at LU London in year 2.

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