We are pleased to kick off our IN-volved Series with a post by Dr. José-Rodrigo Córdoba-Pachón

Managing creativity: a systems thinking journey: A book presentation and after thoughts

Maybe because of its title, the above book of mine draws the attention of management audiences to ask about the difference between creativity and innovation. At a roundtable on November 6th 2019 at Royal Holloway’s school of business and management, after presenting the book I emphasized my preference for creativity rather than innovation, as the former has enabled me to talk about individuals like myself in their journey to become creative. The mixed audience of academics and practitioners at the roundtable highlighted that both creativity and innovation have individual and collective manifestations.  In the discussions, and thanks to Professor Alice Lam who chaired the roundtable, we managed to get a conciliatory view that helps individuals and collectives keep creativity/innovation alive.  To achieve such co-existence, in my view, requires not to see creativity as a prerequisite for innovation, but rather to conceive of both as separate and sometimes intersecting bodies of knowledge and phenomena that involve complex interactions between individuals, organizations and cultures.  They have explicit commonalities, one of them being the importance of value as an attribute for an idea, product or process.  

This book draws a personal journey into the domains of creativity and systems thinking, from teaching creativity to becoming and acting like a creator in the pursuit of research projects.  The book has lots of diagrams and insights that show my attempts to make sense of creativity at work whilst keeping an eye on my well-being, and that of people I care about. I succeeded and failed at times as a creator and as a human being: I felt that creativity is being governed and I am not a lone genius or failure.  Because of this, a main realization that still lingers in my mind is that of considering that creativity has an element of chance or serendipity, which should escape creators if creativity is to be truly systemic.  After this journey, my goal is to continue with another book to learn about rediscovering creativity in management education.  As Barbara Oakley says in her book “A Mind for Numbers” (2014), to learn is to create. I am now putting this thought in practice with my students and hope to draw more interesting and personal insights to keep creativity alive in our management education classroom.  So watch this space! 

-José-Rodrigo

You can read more about creativity here

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