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Creative thinking for the business community

ARU expertise is helping businesses around the world to think more creatively in order to support their growth.

“We’ve got hundreds of experts in so many different fields which business find very useful,” says Dr Jan Storgards, ARU lead for the Digital and Creative Industries, and coordinator of the Creative Thinking in Business Management offering.

“This initiative can really build bridges between the University and business, for the benefit of both. That’s particularly important at this difficult time as we try to deal with the impact of coronavirus.

“As always at ARU, we want to help our local companies in the East of England, but the rise of remote teaching means we can also extend our reach internationally.”

Creative Thinking in Business Management works with partner organisations, large or small, who want to design a package of training and support, using workshops, talks and lectures.

“We make sure the offering is exactly what a client needs,” says Dr Storgards. “Each is tailor made, designed to be interesting, engaging and effective, and to try to bring new creative thinking to business management.”

An example of the programme is ARU’s work with the Hyria Business Institute (HBI) in Finland. Over three days, ARU’s academics taught topics including intercultural business communication, design thinking, technology in human resources management, and ethical and cultural branding.

The Director of HBI’s MBA programme, Ulla Silversabel, says, “The programme offered our executives and managers the opportunity to meet and work with leading experts in exactly the fields we required.

“ARU were wonderful to work with. They designed the lectures, talks and workshops to our specification, and made them entertaining as well as highly informative. Our students are senior people, often in leading international companies, and have high expectations, which meant the teaching had to be top notch.

“The group came away with new insights and angles to work on real life problems which they were facing. They also found they had a broader and deeper level of understanding of the subjects they were studying.”

One of the students, Matias Kotkasaari, CEO of Joutsen Finland Oy, a clothing and bedding company says, “The sessions on Ethical Branding, Intercultural Communication and Design Thinking gave me many good ideas. I realised that our company’s strategy must be very simple so that all our staff can understand it and we all walk in the same direction.

“I now understand how power should be given from the organisation to the people. The employees know the best way to do things. It was a simple but brilliant idea which boosted our production to a new level.”

Tuomo Koskinen, Project Manager at technology and automation company Dosetec Exact Oy, who also studied with the programme, says he found it, “Very well structured and full of relevant case studies.

“Like how Apple gave consumers hip and stylish options against a conservative and dull IBM, as they were seen at that time. Also the cultural aspect of branding was very interesting, like how the culture of a target market will set requirements for your brand.

“A very useful metaphor was the clothing of a priest. How can you understand the clothing if you don’t understand the history and culture behind it? This lesson was a real eye opener to many aspects of branding I didn’t know and it will help me in all branding related tasks.”

“Design thinking was again an eye opener. It gave lot of useful tools to tackle problems in the future.”

Ulla adds, “The students found the course very intensive, but also very rewarding. I would certainly recommend the Creative Thinking in Business Management programme to anyone.”

The collaboration between ARU and the Hyria Business Institute has proved so successful that HBI have already booked another programme.

Creative Thinking in Business Management is one of a series of initiatives run by ARU to support the business community.

“It’s been a longstanding challenge that business doesn’t really understand what goes on in the University, and our academics don’t have enough links to business,” says Dr Storgards. “This is a gentle but effective way of breaking down those barriers and building up lasting and very worthwhile relationships.

“As with all the University’s work, the offering is all about providing hands on, practical and immediately applicable skills and learning.”

Could your business or organisation benefit from our Creative Thinking in Business Management offering? Find out more about our industry workshops.