Our study programs are all Master’s Degree standard, distance learning programs, but with a focus on hands-on, practical experience that you can apply to your own business or organization. These courses are created by experts in their field with experience in creating and delivering university graduate-level accredited courses that are academically of the highest standard but real-world entrepreneurial experience. In other words these executive development classes have a very real take-home that is the focus of the program. If you study Creative Strategic Planning, for instance, you take home a strategic plan broadly based around your own organization.
Although these programs are distance learning, and include all your study materials and workbooks, students have the opportunity to mix with their cohort, and the instructor, via webinars and student forums that are available exclusively to our clients.
Each course comprises six one-week modules with each weekly assignment graded on a one-to-one basis. This provides students with extensive, valuable, feedback on their understanding and performance.
LEADING WITH CREATIVITY
The current economic and social turmoil may prove to mark the advent of a new era – the Era of Creativity, potentially as revolutionary as the industrial revolution. Old management models have finally been put to the test and have been found lacking. This course takes a fresh look at the many aspects of what encourages people to be creative and what discourages them. From leadership style to tolerating anarchy, this new approach to creating innovative environments through leadership is designed to help participants develop their own new model of management: Managing for Creativity.
Further Details: We have entered a new era; socially, ethically, economically, and, organizationally. Employees now demand more from employers and prospective employers, as do customers, regulators, investors, the media and the general public. Corporate ethics have never been tested to the extent they are now, and existing economic models are also under pressure. There is also no evidence to suggest that the current turbulence and competitive pressure will abate anytime soon.
This class will not, of course, provide all the answers. However, an understanding of creativity, creative problem solving and a new conceptual framework to manage oneself and others can guide individuals and organizations through the hurdles of entering a new era, and be able to see opportunity where once there appeared to be adversity. Many of the challenges of management have more satisfactory outcomes when confronted in innovative ways. Integrating creativity into leadership and corporate structure has many advantages including job-satisfaction and increased organisational flexibility and efficiency. The theoretical bases behind this approach are analysed as are the ways in which these can be practically implemented.
CREATIVE BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
The need to communicate is a very basic one. While ancient cave drawings might suggest that communication is about the transfer of information (good buffalo hunting ground lies in this direction, or, water is in this direction), then and now it fulfils many other vital, functions; it is also a critical component of successful innovation. These aspects of communication are discussed during this class from both organizational and personal perspectives. Specifically, we examine how meeting the challenges of personal, inter- and intra-organizational communication have changed over the last half century and how organizational relationships with stakeholders including employees, governments, the local community and shareholders require new approaches to communication. For the individual, increased understanding regarding the importance of, and skills required to effectively communicate in a way appropriate to the situation leads to increased leadership potential and potency regards advocacy, policy change, and increased organizational innovation. Indeed, competency in understanding and practicing communication processes represents a significant part of the transition from ‘manager’ to ‘leader’ and has the potential to impact individuals’ career paths.
STRATEGIC PLANNING – FIND OUT WHY CREATIVITY IS THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT!
This course introduces students to a variety of strategic planning models and processes appropriate for both profit-based and non-profit organizations. In all organizations the focus of strategic planning is setting strategic objectives and developing strategies for implementing those objectives. To be effective these processes require creativity and good idea generation techniques.
Further Details: The content of the course includes exploring the basic concepts and techniques used in strategic planning. These include the analysis of current internal factors (an organization’s strengths and weaknesses) along with potential future opportunities and threats. The goal of all these techniques is to provide tools to help managers get from where the organization is now to where they want to be in the future. A goal of the class is to develop skills to frame issues correctly so that strategic plans address the organization’s true needs. A further goal is that students prepare a strategic plan for their organization.
GENERATING IDEAS – BRAINSTORMING AND BEYOND
Brainstorming is an important tool for the innovative organization and yet it has consistently failed to deliver the goods in the way that was originally intended. One goal of this class is to pick apart the brainstorming and idea generation process and show how the process can be dramatically improved in terms of individual satisfaction levels, and also in terms of the number of useful ideas generated.
Further Details: Among other things, brainstorming is the idea generation stage or stages in creative problem solving (CPS), (which is discussed in some detail in this class). However, there is no evidence that brainstorming in any way parallels what happens when people compose a piece of music or spontaneously invent a new product or process. So brainstorming is no substitute for creating an environment within which innovation and creativity can burgeon spontaneously. It was simply designed as an idea generation tool.
In some CPS tasks brainstorming is used to identify what the challenge or problem really is. For instance, a business might want to examine ways to become more profitable. Rather than jumping to the conclusion that increasing sales should be the main focus of effort, brainstorming may reveal other options that are also worth considering, which may end up being more immediate or requiring less investment.
Once this initial challenge is identified, the more traditional role of brainstorming can begin; i.e. generating ‘how to’ ideas regarding addressing the challenge. Frequently brainstormers have already had the challenge identified for them (by upper management or the Board, for instance) so they start at this second stage. Either way, a successful brainstorming session requires detailed planning, and its success depends on diligence implementation.