At the same time we’re trying to inject more science into marketing some people are going in the opposite direction:

More and more business leaders are looking to schools of art and design for sources of inspiration and creativity. Top European business school Insead in Fontainebleau, France, just outside of Paris, has joined forces with the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., to teach the role of creativity in business decisions, explore how innovation really works, and explain why design is important to corporate management. Insead’s curriculum has won the respect of such innovative companies as General Electric, Procter & Gamble, and other creative organizations. Art Center President Richard Koshalek says “The business community is just now discovering the importance of creativity.” B-school students usually learn how to create business plans but only occasionally develop actual products or services, whereas the design process is integral to the Insead program. In January, eight Art Center College students flew to France to join 44 Insead MBAs. By the end of 14 weeks, the teams completed their concepts—high-end luggage for professional women business travelers with special compartments and wheels that make it easier to pull; running shoes that signal when the shock absorbers are wearing down; a device that removes cigarette smoke from suits for nonsmoking American execs who must do deals in Paris or Frankfurt. “Working with design students has opened our minds.  It’s very hard to teach creativity, especially at a business school. I’ve loved this experience.”

What do we think?

Both “science” and “creativity” can happily co-exist in a business setting.  We distinguish between creativity, design, and art.  These are three different things.  Creativity and design are tools you use to innovate in business.  Art is nice to have but like intuition probably should play a limited role in business settings. 

Business Week 16 May 2005