Colorado Leeds School of Business
frank moyes   entrepreneurship and small business management | esbm 6100    




BADM 4820



Spring 2005


Course Description

In many areas of business, the ability to develop new ideas, creatively solve problems, and generate change is a recognized standard of success and plays an important role in attaining a competitive advantage. Despite the enormous effects of creative ideas in corporations, this is one component in employees’ performance that traditionally defies quantitative evaluation.

Not only is the original idea itself difficult to evaluate precisely, but also the ability to generate such ideas is generally considered an inherent personality trait that cannot be acquired — these creative people, it is generally believed, are born, not made. The conventional approach is, therefore, to view creative managers as a different class of individuals. Although creative individuals may have some degree of difficulty working on routine tasks or in a team, they compensate for these shortcomings by coming up with ideas that no one has ever thought of before. According to this approach, although the stroke of genius or inspiration may occur once in 10 years, the organization should best wait patiently to reap the fruits of its creative manager.

Supported by recent studies, this course reflects a completely different approach to creativity and is grounded in the assumption that creative thinking is not different from other cognitive processes used in the best professional reasoning. Creative and other thought processes simply differ in the distinct orientations they establish to problem definition: creative problem solving directs the solver to search in areas that are potentially richer in creative solutions. Creativity, then, is a skill that can be acquired and improved by practice.

This course is designed to teach students systematic methodologies for creative problem solving to complement the skills that are acquired in undergraduate studies. The course offers students the opportunity to learn how to solve problems, identify opportunities and generate those elusive ideas that produce enormous benefits to organizations with a very small investment. It also examines how organizational structure and managerial strategies influence creative performance.

The course format will itself be unconventional using a variety of methods including cases, exercises, field trips, readings, and both individual and group projects. 

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Recognize their own innate creative potential and its role in an enhanced quality of life;
  • Appreciate the role of courage in coming up with and implementing new ideas and approaches in business problem-solving;
  • Generate a markedly higher number of innovative ideas when confronted with a task or problem;
  • Recognize the creative blocks when they are imposed by others, as well as when one is imposing the blocks on others;
  • Apply a variety of techniques for overcoming obstacles to creative problem-solving;
  • Appreciate the unique challenges & methods for accomplishing creative solutions in group contexts;
  • Assume different roles in successfully managing the creative process;
  • Sell creative solutions to others in an effective manner;
  • Develop a viable product or service concept around which a venture can be initiated, and that they can carry forward beyond the class


Course Philosophy

  • We are all co-producers of this course.
  • The teaching team and the students are all encouraged to take risks. Try lots of things and keep what works.
  • The more we each put into the course, the more we each take away from it.
  • I have no problem giving good grades to everyone… But the bar is VERY HIGH.
  • Make sure to show up, be prepared, contribute actively, and treat everyone with respect. 


Required Texts and Materials

  • Scott Thorpe, How to Think Like Einstein (2000), Sourcebooks, Inc. ISBN 1-57071-585-8
  • Robert I Sutton, Weird Ideas That Work (2002), The Free Press (Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.) ISBN 0-7432-1212-6
  • Readings: to be distributed in class
  • Blank journal or notebook for recording of creative insights and assignments, and brainstorming on tasks and assignments for the course.


Student Assessment/Evaluation


                                          Mid-term Examination                                      20%

                                          Team Project                                                     20%

                                          Assignments (six)                                             20%

                                          Journal                                                               20%

                                          Class Contribution/Participation                     20%

                                                                      Total                                      100%


Mid-term Examination

The exam will cover all of the material from the first six weeks of the semester.


Team Project

By the end of the third week of the semester students pick a team of 3 people for a semester-long team project. The teams’ goal will be to identify an organization that you think is particularly creative. It can be a small or large business, a non-profit organization, a club, etc. The organization must be large enough to allow you to identify a collection of ways that the people within the organization work together.


Students are going to “create” multiple times during the semester.  You will be given an assignment in six of the fifteen weeks of the semester, a number of which will be presented in class, and some of which involve a written submission. 



A journal will be maintained during the semester for individual insights, activities and as a place to record ideas generated for your assignments (in-class and out). When doing the various reading assignments you should use the journal to record key points and describe the conclusions or insights you have gained. Many of the assignments will be group exercises for which brainstorming should be recorded in your journal.


The journal should be a living document. It should be a place to record your creative perspective of the world and should not be limited to business. In addition to your observations it could include bugs, drawings, poetry, jokes, quotes, humor, articles, photos, resources, websites, questions, etc.


The journal will be submitted for grading at the beginning of class on the sixth and fourteenth weeks.




Class Contribution and Participation

Classroom discussion is vital to the learning process in this course. Each student is expected to participate in the class discussion of the assigned material and case studies. You should attend every class having read the materials.


General Course Policies


  • Two copies of the written assignments are due at the beginning of the class for which they have been assigned, unless otherwise specified by the instructor. Written assignments not received will receive a grade of zero.
  • Attendance Policy: Students are required to attend every class. If you are unable to attend a class, please send to the instructor an email prior to class that includes as an attachment a write-up of what you would have prepared for the class.


Campus Policies


The following campus policies that apply in this course:


Honor Code  The purpose of the honor code at the University of Colorado at Boulder is to secure for students an environment in which all individuals have responsibility for, and are appropriately recognized for, their individual academic and personal achievements.  See .


Students with Disabilities Students with disabilities who qualify for academic accommodations must provide a letter from Disability Services (DS) and discuss specific needs with the professor, preferably during the first two weeks of class. See


Religious Holiday  The University of Colorado at Boulder has a legal and moral obligation to accommodate all students who must be absent from classes or miss scheduled exams in order to observe religious holidays. 



Student Behavior  Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Students who fail to adhere to behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Faculty has the professional responsibility to treat students with understanding, dignity and respect, to guide classroom discussion and to set reasonable limits on the manner in which students express opinions.  See




Page Moreau

Leeds School of Business                                             

University of Colorado at Boulder                                              

Boulder, CO 80309-0419     

Telephone: 303.735.6306


Office: Room 420                                   

Office Hours: Monday 1:00 to 2:00

                      And by appointment



Frank Moyes                                                                         

Leeds School of Business                                             

University of Colorado at Boulder                                              

Boulder, CO 80309-0419                                                                           


Office: Room 328A                                              

Office Hours: Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00

                             Wednesday 4:00 to 5:45      

                            Thursday 4:00 to 6:00

                      And by appointment


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