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Creativity course at Berkeley – 2009

September 2nd, 2009

Luck is believing you’re lucky.”  Tennessee Williams (1911-1983)

This past week, I launched a new course at UC Berkeley, completely designed from scratch, called “Innovation, Creativity & The Entrepreneur” (“ICE”).  First class was on Wednesday and room was overflowing with students from Cal’s Engineering School (grad students) and MBAs from the Haas School of Business.  I feel very lucky to be able to teach this class at my favorite university.

growing ideasI’ve been teaching these past few years at Haas School as a Professional Faculty member, and my course is “New Venture Finance” which is offered through the Entrepreneurship program. During the last few years I started thinking:  what is my true passion and how might I make an impact on Cal students with my ideas to help shape their careers in a valuable way.  The idea for “Innovation, Creativity and the Entrepreneur was born from two primary experiences in my “youth”.  I’ve long attended the Creative Problem Solving Institute’s annual summer gathering (CPSI) in Buffalo, NY (see: CPSI 2010).  Each summer, thousands of “Creatives” from many disciplines gather to share seminars and topics on creativity from eduction, business, consulting, art, and more.  These conferences, which I’ve been attending since my teens have been a great source of inspiration over the years.  Perhaps an even bigger impact was a course on Creativity & Entrepreneurship – which I took while at Harvard Business School by John Kao (author of Jamming). Kao offered man whimsical looks at where creativity plays a role in business and in leadership – a view that I’ve often used in my 30-year career in the Silicon Valley.

My last dozen years as Managing Director at Outlook Ventures and my prior work at Apple Computer, Viacom/Paramount’s Media Kitchen, and entrepreneurial stints at Yahoo, NetChannel, Overture, My eLife, and many others have helped me validate some of the concepts of creativity and innovation within the entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial setting.

The course at Cal will also explore Creativity and The Entrepreneur – but I’ve expanded the “curriculum” based on my hands-on and personal experience with hundreds of highly creative entrepreneurs over the years. cal_logo What really makes them tick?  Where do great ideas come from? What were the innovations that contributed to some of the greatest companies of the 21st and 20th century?

More importantly, the goal for the class is to help each student better understand where they can use their own unique and personal creativity in the entrepreneurial realm..because I believe everyone has one form or another of creativity…just waiting to be discovered.

Hopefully this blog will be useful in sharing with a wider audience the many findings and musings from this first class and well-beyond…                 ~R~