Teaching creatively vs teaching creativity

As Jeffrey and Craft (2010) pointed out so well, there is a big difference between teaching creatively, and teaching creativity. They argue that teaching creatively is essentially akin to effective teaching: it involves using imaginative approaches to make learning more interesting and effective in the classroom setting. But this is different from teaching creativity, which focuses the instructor’s efforts towards developing the learner’s own creative capacities (what Amabile might refer to as developing individual creativity relevant processes). In their 2010 work on the relationship between teaching creatively and teaching creativity (terms they adopt from a 1999 NACCCE report) Jeffrey and Craft argue that the two are connected, but that we seldom bring our focus to the teaching of creativity alone.

This focus on teaching creatively, rather than teaching creativity is also addressed in Ramocki’s work on the use of the MAP model of creative thinking in marketing classrooms (2014). He argues that the four primary reasons that marketing educators don’t (or won’t) teach creativity are in fact illusions. Creativity can, indeed, be taught. The existing curriculum does not automatically instil creative capacities in our learners. The benefits of enhanced creative capacities are actually worth the cost in time and effort. But most importantly: we know how to teach it! Instead of describing models of creative process in the marketing classroom, the tools we need to help our students develop their own individual creative praxis are available and easily integrated into existing course structures.

How might we teach creativity in our marketing classes? Sometimes we use models that serve to develop or enhance the creative capacities of the learners in our classroom. These theoretical models can serve as pedagogical tools for instructors interested in teaching creativity in their marketing classes.

Key elementsUse in marketing education
Analogous Systems ModelLangley & Jones (1988)[1]Learners expand ordinary analogies into systems that aid in gaining creative perspective (and support the generation of new ideas)Integrated into the MAP model.
Creativity TrainingGilbert, Prenshaw & Ivy (1996)[2]Learners use brainstorming, forced relationships, heuristic ideation (HIT Grids) and fantasy.Data presented demonstrating an increase in marketing students’ creativity scores resulting from the use of the Creativity Training Model, not replicated in non-creative graded assignments.
Genplore ModelFink, Ward & Smith (1992)[3]Learners use analogous preinventive forms to make creative breakthroughs within a genplore (generate/explore) framework.Integrated into the MAP model
The Creativity ExerciseMcIntyre (1993)[4]Learners use group brainstorming within a five step framework: 1) initial stimulus, 2) independent idea generation, 3) group idea generation, 4) idea selection and 5) debriefing and discussion.Findings demonstrate that marketing students are better able to relate the information provided to their previously attained knowledge, synthesize this knowledge, and propose an “appropdate, useful, correct, or valuable” application after going through this five step process. Findings from a separate study of graduate MBA students demonstrate that creativity training can improve ATTA scores in both men and women[5].
Marketing and the Creative Problem Solving ProcessTitus (2000)[6]Learners use progressively abstract techniques to cycle through phases of problem definition, information gathering, idea generation, idea evaluation and refinement, and idea implementation. This approach also employs radial diagrams/mind mapping and draws upon Osborn and Parnes’ conception of CPS as a creative thinking model.A study of the use of the CPS in marketing education shows that the model is currently embedded in nearly all marketing classes, and calls for instructors to bring more focus to their use of the specific stages of the CPS models in order to increase students’ divergent thinking in a wide range of marketing courses.
Creative Problem Solving (CPS)Osborn & Parnes (1955)[7]Learners use a program of mess finding and objective finding, fact finding, problem finding, idea finding, solution finding and action finding to develop their creative capacities. This framework is also often described as clarify, ideate, develop and implement.Lee and Hoffman (2014) studied the use of CPS in marketing education through a specific assignment design (the Iron Inventor), and demonstrated that the use of CPS increases student satisfaction, creative input, enhances topic knowledge, engages participation, fosters relationships, and builds class enthusiasm[8].
Creative Marketing Breakthrough Model (CMB)Titus (2007)[9]Learners bring four key creative constructs or mental models to bear on creative problems (task motivation, serendipity, cognitive flexibility, and disciplinary knowledge), in a context of  uncertainty to generate creative breakthroughs. Tools such as purposeful forced association and random object lists are used to prompt creative cognition in the CMB model.A study of the use of the CMB model indicates that the use of purposeful forced associations in the marketing classroom can help students employ the CMB process more effectively.
Innovation Exercise ProcessAnderson (2006)[10]Learners (at the MBA level) increase their creative confidence using techniques such as playfulness, challenge, avoidance of premature closure, risk taking, fun, relaxation and freedom from control. Learners work as a class group to optimize their creative and innovative output in a 12 step framework: assigned reading, creation of a relaxed and playful environment, practice with drawing and sketching, observation of a video, consideration of observational consumer research, selection of a product for improvement, documentation of expectations and avoidance of premature closure, observation in actual consumer situations, photographing and documentation of real buying situations, brainstorming possibilities, constructing prototypes, presentation of prototypes and findings to the class.A study of the use of the Innovation Exercise Process shows that students who participated in this learning framework felt increased confidence in their creativity, developed their own creativity, and practiced creativity outside of class.
Mind MappingEriksson & Hauer (2004)[11]Learners oscillate between divergent and convergent thinking while creating diagnostic, opportunity and strategic maps.A study of the use of the Mind Mapping technique (converging in the MIO Matrix, diverging in the MIO Map and re-converging in the MIO Matrix) demonstrated that students can show more interest in and comfort with new situations when using this approach.
SOLO Taxonomy ApproachJaskari (2013)Learner creativity is assessed by examining how they cope with ambiguity, how well they prevent premature closure, and how well they generate abstractive understandings (using a scale of non-creative to highly creative).Jaskari (2013) presents a case study of the SOLO Taxonomy approach in the marketing classroom. Findings indicate that the approach enables creativity (with both a capital C and a lower case C) in the marketing classroom while maintaining a focus on the assessment of both the outcome and the process.[12]
MAP modelRamocki (2011)[13] (2014) [14]Learners work in a three stage framework (metaphor, analogy and preinventive form) to generate new ideas for a particular quest or problem that requires a creative solution.A study of the MAP model used in two marketing class assignments demonstrated the effectiveness of the MAP framework in the marketing classroom, highlighting the role of the genplore concept.
Divergent Marketing Thought ModelTitus (2018)[15]The DMTM is a theoretical model that could be applied in marketing organizations and marketing classrooms to provide a theoretical framework for the cognitive processes associated with creative idea generation in the marketing context.A study of the use of the DMTM model in a marketing classroom indicates that they use of the model supports increased divergent thought that can mediate the generation of creative marketing ideas.
Design ThinkingCross (2011)[16]Learners apply a five step model (empathy, Problem identification, ideation, prototyping and testing) to learn to think creatively.Research into the use of design thinking in graduate marketing education demonstrated that DT can be effectively used as a pedagogical framework to effectively instill innovation skills such as creativity, empathy, open-mindedness, experimentation, communication, and collaboration.[17]
CONE modelParcha (2020)[18]Learners use the CONE (creativity, novelty, originality of expression) model toA study (Parcha, 2020) of the use of the CONE model demonstrated that marketing students who used this approach felt more comfortable with learning objectives related to creativity, and more able to understand complex theories unrelated to creativity.
Convergent/Divergent ThinkingGomez (2007)[19]Learners cycle through progressive stages of convergent (idea evaluation) and divergent (idea creation) thinking in order to further develop their creative capacities.Arens (2022) studied the use of convergent/divergent thinking models in doctoral marketing programs, and found that after the use of this approach students became more conceptual and creative. [20]
Systems ThinkingAnderson & Johnson (1997)[21]Learners are encouraged to assess the “big picture”, to balance short and long term perspectives, to recognize the dynamic, complex and interdependent nature of systems, to take into account measurable and non measurable factors, and to remember that all points of input into a system have effect on the system as a whole.Atwater, Kannan and Stephens (2008) propose that systems thinking should be included in all courses within a business school curriculum, including in marketing classes. They present a three part model of how systems thinking can be better integrated into course work.[22]

Regardless of the model used, teaching creativity in the classroom requires the integration of six key areas of focus within the learning experience (Jahnke et al., 2015): self-reflective and independent learning, the chance to produce something novel, the use of multiple perspective, and the act of searching for original, entirely new ideas. This can be daunting for marketing educators within an academic system that prioritizes the development of new marketing curricula to prepare our students for a creative future (Ball 2017), but which might not support the integration of creative capacity training within existing course structures (Glassman and Opengart, 2016; Driver, 2001).

But remember, teaching creativity is different from teaching creatively. The two are, no doubt, connected. But while teaching creativity often relies on theories, teaching creatively focuses more often on creativity relevant processes (Amabile & Pratt, 2016)[1] or practices (what Eriksson and Hauer call applied creativity and assessment techniques). These practices can be integrated into marketing classrooms, providing the instructor with evidence based tools with which to teach creatively while supporting students’ creative processes.

ModelAdditional InformationKey elementsUse in marketing education
SCAMPERhttps://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/learn-how-to-use-the-best-ideation-methods-scamperLearners are prompted to use the SCAMPER framework to ask new questions and examine new possibilities.Poon, Tong & Lau (2014) explored the use of SCAMPER as an applied creativity technique in the marketing classroom.[1]
Role playinghttps://think.design/user-design-research/role-play/Learners “act out” the perspective of another individual in order to surface insights during the creative process.Thomas et al. (2018) explored how role playing can help creative problem solving related to  the customer decision making process.[2]
Digital Storytellinghttps://tlp-lpa.ca/digital-skills/digital-storytellingLearners collect evidence in the form of digital files (audio, image, video) about an individual’s experience of a particular issue. They then present those in the form of a compelling story for teams/classes.Spaanjard and Mohammed (2022) provide an example of how digital storytelling can be used as a creative element of a larger assignment in marketing education.[3]
Informancehttps://think.design/user-design-research/informance/Learners engage in evidence-informed role play, bodystorming and improvisation to surface insights into a user experience.Wynn (2006) demonstrates the effectiveness of the use of informance in design education.[4]
Affinity Diagramshttps://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/affinity-diagrams-learn-how-to-cluster-and-bundle-ideas-and-factsLearners group ideas and concepts to help synthesize information and insights.Ronchetto and Buckles (1994) provide one of the original studies of the use of affinity diagrams in marketing education.[5]
Assumption surfacinghttp://www.mycoted.com/creativity/techniques/assumption.phpLearners surface their assumptions and are challenged to identify the counter assumption which they then map onto a 2×2 matrix of plausibility (low to high) and impact (low to high)Ericsson and Hauer (2007) outline the effective use of assumption surfacing as a form of mind mapping in their work on MPI matrix/map use.
Brain Storminghttps://contentmarketinginstitute.com/articles/content-brainstorming-ideas/Learners surface all ideas, regardless of impact or suitability in order to generate fodder for an iterative prototyping phase of work.Jacobs (1984) provides the original classroom tested illustration of the use of brainstorming in marketing education.[6]
Low/High Fidelity Prototypinghttps://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/prototyping-learn-eight-common-methods-and-best-practicesLearners create abstract or representative versions of an idea using physical materials so that they can externalize their conceptual work and discuss the manifestation of their ideas with others.Schiele and Chen (2018) offer a look at the use of digital prototyping tools in marketing education.[7]
Digital ethnographyhttps://indeemo.com/blog/digital-ethnography#:~:text=Digital%20ethnography%20has%20its%20origins,%2C%20behaviours%2C%20journeys%20and%20experiences.Learners use digital technology (online access, smart phones, video and audio data) to construct a rich and nuanced picture of the culture of an end user or target audience.Jensen et al. (2022) discuss the use of digital ethnography in higher education, with applications to a marketing curriculum.[8]
Forced Connectionshttps://www.toolshero.com/creativity/forced-connections/Learners are challenged to create mash-ups or forced connections between concepts/things as a way to spark new ideas.Burnett (2021) examined the use of forced connections in the marketing classroom as a part of the brainstorming process.[9]
Six Hatshttps://www.debonogroup.com/services/core-programs/six-thinking-hats/Learners are tasked with playing an assigned role in the thinking process: calling for information, introducing optimism, identifying risks, surfacing feelings, focusing on new possibilities and managing the thinking process. These roles are symbolized by specifically coloured hats.Vernon and Hocking (2016) showed that structured techniques such as the six hat tool can be effective in creative thinking exercises.[10]
Storyboardinghttp://journalism.berkeley.edu/multimedia/course/storyboardingLearners create a frame by frame representation of their creative idea, using the storyboarding model as a form of prototyping and idea sorting.According to Blijlevens (2021) using storyboards in marketing education can help marketing students become better prepared to work closely with designers and creative industry partners.[11]
Spider Web Diagramshttps://www.mindmanager.com/en/features/spider-diagram/Learners create a visual diagram of information, sorting through knowledge while they are acquiring it in order to spark new and creative ideas.Eriksson and Hauer (2007) demonstrated effective use of mind mapping tools such as the spider web diagram in their description of mind mapping within the MIO matrix/map model.

There’s an argument to be made for teaching creativity creatively, which is a mouthful. But regardless of whether we are redesigning a course to include more creative practices (with the hope that the course itself will be taught more creatively) or to focus on instilling, developing and enhancing the creative capacities of our students (which requires teaching creativity), we need to start somewhere. With creativity listed by the world economic forum as a top 5 skill required by the year 2021, we know that creativity and creative capacities are the core skills that our graduates must possess to thrive in their chosen careers (whether inside or outside the creative and cultural industries).

Creativity is, after all, an ability. Luckily for us, abilities can be taught. I’m curious about how we might fight against those four myths that stand in the way of integrating creative capacity development into our marketing curriculums in order to help prepare our students to meet the challenges of the future.

[1] Poon, J. C., Au, A. C., Tong, T. M., & Lau, S. (2014). The feasibility of enhancement of knowledge and self-confidence in creativity: A pilot study of a three-hour SCAMPER workshop on secondary students. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 14, 32-40.

[2] Thomas, V. L., Magnotta, S. R., Chang, H., & Steffes, E. (2018). Role-playing in a consumption context: An experiential learning activity focused on the consumer decision-making process. Marketing Education Review, 28(2), 89-97.

[3] Spanjaard, D., Garlin, F., & Mohammed, H. (2022). Tell Me a Story! Blending Digital Storytelling Into Marketing Higher Education for Student Engagement. Journal of Marketing Education, 02734753221090419.

[4] Wynn, N. (2006). A ‘Real’ Undergraduate Design Education. International Journal of Learning, 13(3).

[5] Ronchetto, J. R., & Buckles, T. A. (1994). Developing critical thinking and interpersonal skills in a services marketing course employing total quality management concepts and techniques. Journal of Marketing Education, 16(3), 20-31.

[6] Jacobs, L. W. (1984). Brainstorming the Marketing Experience. Journal of Marketing Education, 6(3), 50-56.

[7] Schiele, K., & Chen, S. (2018). Design thinking and digital marketing skills in marketing education: A module on building mobile applications. Marketing Education Review, 28(3), 150-154.

[8] Jensen, L. X., Bearman, M., Boud, D., & Konradsen, F. (2022). Digital ethnography in higher education teaching and learning—a methodological review. Higher Education, 1-20.

[9] Burnett, C. (2021). The missing link: Teaching the creative problem solving process. In Organic Creativity in the Classroom (pp. 285-297). Routledge.

[10] Vernon, D., & Hocking, I. (2016). Beyond belief: Structured techniques prove more effective than a placebo intervention in a problem construction task. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 19, 153-159.

[11] Blijlevens, J. (2021). Educating Marketing Students to Understand Designers’ Thought-Worlds. Journal of Marketing Education, 02734753211038997.

[1] Amabile, T. M., & Pratt, M. G. (2016). The dynamic componential model of creativity and innovation in organizations: Making progress, making meaning. Research in organizational behavior, 36, 157-183.

[1] Langley, P., & Jones, R. (1988). A computational model of scientific insight. The Nature of Creativity: Contemporary Psychological Perspectives, 177, 201.

[2] Gilbert, F. W., Prenshaw, P. J., & Ivy, T. T. (1996). A preliminary assessment of the effectiveness of creativity training in marketing. Journal of Marketing Education, 18(3), 46-56.

[3] Finke, Ward, T. B., & Smith, S. M. (1992). Creative Cognition: Theory, Research and Applications. MIT Press.

[4] McIntyre. (1993). An approach to fostering creativity in marketing. Marketing Education Review, 3(1), 33–36.

[5] McIntyre, F. S., Hite, R. E., & Rickard, M. K. (2003). Individual characteristics and creativity in the marketing classroom: Exploratory insights. Journal of Marketing Education, 25(2), 143-149.

[6] Titus, P. A. (2000). Marketing and the creative problem-solving process. Journal of Marketing Education, 22(3), 225-235.

[7] Torrance, E. P., & Torrance, J. P. (1978). Developing Creativity Instructional Materials According to the Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving Model. Creative child and adult quarterly, 3(2), 80-90.

[8] Lee, S. H., & Hoffman, K. D. (2014). The” Iron Inventor”: Using creative problem solving to spur student creativity. Marketing Education Review, 24(1), 69-74.

[9] Titus. (2007). Applied Creativity: The Creative Marketing Breakthrough Model. Journal of Marketing Education, 29(3), 262–272.

[10] Anderson, L. (2006). Building confidence in creativity: MBA students. Marketing Education Review, 16(1), 91-96.

[11] Eriksson, L. T., & Hauer, A. M. (2004). Mind map marketing: A creative approach in developing marketing skills. Journal of Marketing Education, 26(2), 174-187.

[12] Jaskari, M. M. (2013). The challenge of assessing creative problem solving in client-based marketing development projects: A SOLO taxonomy approach. Journal of Marketing Education, 35(3), 231-244.

[13] Ramocki, S. (2011). Teaching Creativity in Marketing and Business Education: A Concise Compilation That Will Increase Students’ Creativity. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

[14] Ramocki, S. (2014). Teaching creativity in the marketing curriculum. Marketing Education Review, 24(3), 183-196.

[15] Titus, P. A. (2018). Exploring creative marketing thought: Divergent ideation processes and outcomes. Psychology & Marketing, 35(3), 237-248.

[16] Cross, N. (2011). Design thinking: Understanding how designers think and work. Berg.

[17] Lee, C., & Benza, R. (2015). Teaching Innovation Skills: Application of Design Thinking in a Graduate Marketing Course. Business Education Innovation Journal, 7(1).

[18] Parcha, J. M. (2020). CONE (Creativity, Originality, and Novelty of Expression) Projects: Explaining Course Concepts through Creative Thinking. College Teaching, 69(2), 107-112.

[19] Gomez, J. G. (2007). What Do We Know about Creativity?. Journal of Effective Teaching, 7(1), 31-43.

[20] Arens, Z. G. (2022). A creative abduction approach to theory development in marketing doctoral education. Marketing Education Review, 1-10.

[21] Anderson, V., & Johnson, L. (1997). Systems thinking basics (pp. 1-14). Cambridge, MA: Pegasus Communications.

[22] Atwater, J. B., Kannan, V. R., & Stephens, A. A. (2008). Cultivating systemic thinking in the next generation of business leaders. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 7(1), 9-25.

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