Learning how to be creative is not a contradiction in terms. In fact, taking a study module to develop your imagination could be a career strategy.
The Design Camp in Vaasa, Finland, encourages students studying economics, management, and communication to explore their intuitive side by solving practical problems for real companies, such as ‘How can sales be increased?’
Student Maria Hautaviita explained: “It doesn’t matter what you do, you can just throw some ideas around. It doesn’t matter how many of them. You just throw them in the air and pick something you need, something you like. It’s just about being who you really are.”
Timo Rossi changed direction after finishing a degree in mechanical engineering. The creative challenge was missing so he turned to design studies. Now, he is designing the digital platform for an IT company. He told us a different way of thinking helps: “I think that this current educational system emphasises analytical thinking too much. It’s important, but there should be more space for creative capabilities as well.”
His PhD explores how creative tendencies can be developed, and uses statistics, hypothetical social models and – of course – a lot of imagination.
He explained: “In many cases, people with analytical skills are looking within themselves at what is currently possible. But I think we should be thinking more about what is possible in the near future. And then trying to make things happen, developing solutions.”
Timo has contributed to developing a new study module called Creative Strategic Foresight, organised by the Muova research centre and funded with support from the European Commission, which will be used in universities to teach people to think in a creative way.
Creative Strategic Foresight coordinator Tanja Oraviita said it is not easy: “To think independently is the most difficult thing for everybody, because it requires courage, and the ability to take risks. It’s very often said that if you don’t do exactly what is said, you are not a good person, you cannot achieve in life, you are not accepted.”
Teachers and researchers help students work on specific problems experienced by companies which need fresh approaches. The course is based on creative exercises to help generate good ideas.
Tanja Oraviita gave us an example from the communication course: “They have to make a raw egg land without breaking, when dropped from the third floor or something like that. And of course they cannot carry it downstairs. So there’s all this process to use and they need to think how to communicate within it.”
Timo Rossi summed up: “I think that a person participating in this programme can learn some really valuable abilities which are needed in the workplace today. They learn strategic thinking, understanding bigger pictures and connexions between things.”
Tanja Oraviita concluded: “You work with researchers and companies, so you also learn to use up-to-date research results. You might have to present your work to the companies, so the day you start working you are not intimidated anymore.”