JOLT@TUBusiness recently launched its first creativity exercise called The Mazzio’s Pizza Box Challenge. Interdisciplinary teams of students were challenged to design a creative use for pizza boxes. The interdisciplinary component was required to encourage diversity of thought in developing and designing innovative solutions.
Why did JOLT@TUBusiness encourage the TU student community to take time away from class work to engage in a seemingly superfluous activity? Let’s explore a few reasons why this exercise is a valuable contribution to student learning.
- The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2020, has stated that creativity and innovation will be essential skills needed for the workforce of the future. Jobs requiring creativity will grow as a higher percentage of the labor market by the year 2030.
- According to an IBM study of 1,500 global CEOs, creativity was ranked as the single most important skill for effective leadership.
- Teams engaged in problem-solving activities that had even a nominal amount of training in idea generation and development of solutions out-performed teams without any creativity training. The groups with some creativity training scored higher in number of ideas generation and creativeness of proposed solutions. Puccio, et al.
- Creativity is good for our mental and physical health. Creating something unique, especially when working with others, unleashes positive emotions, reduces stress and anxiety, and decreases symptoms of depression.
Unfortunately, many people do not believe they are creative. But, the good news is that all humans are wired to be creative. We are most creative as children (George Land, 1968) but lose touch with that skill as we grow older. Much like learning to throw a ball or play a musical instrument, creative thinking is a skill that can be improved with training and practice. According to Christenson Tanner, head of creative design at Gem.com, the main two barriers to people believing that they are not creative thinkers are the fear of failure and believing that they can never be as creative as (fill in your favorite creative hero – Einstein, Madame Curie, Steve Jobs, James Henson, etc). To overcome these fears, we must embrace the concept that failure is not final. The goal is to learn from failure and to try again. Experimentation with novel concepts is such a valuable tool, developing flexible and resilient thinkers. And, yes, we may never be as creative as (fill in the blank), but even small problems require creative solutions.
If you identify as a non-creative person, just use your favorite search engine to explore creativity building exercises or visit James Le’s blog where he provides 10 activities that will improve your creativity prowess.
In summary, the goal of the Mazzio’s Pizza Box Challenge was to provide our students with an opportunity to practice imagining and constructing solutions to an “out-of-the-box” problem. Creative challenges provide fun opportunities to build team and leadership skills, while preparing students to confront challenges with imagination, ingenuity, and creative confidence. The future needs creative thinkers and we, at JOLT@TUBusiness, will be providing many more “hands-on” opportunities for our students to develop these important skills.
Claire Cornell (email@example.com) 918-631-2684