Academic journal article Business Education & Accreditation

Pedagogy for Creative Collaboration

Academic journal article Business Education & Accreditation

Pedagogy for Creative Collaboration

Article excerpt


In an increasingly globalized and knowledge-based economy, graduates with creative minds and able to collaborate will have a clear competitive edge over their peers. This paper examines the pedagogy used in an elective course aimed to raise the creative design literacy of nondesign students who were mostly Business students. Students in this course learned to think creatively and worked collaboratively in small groups to solve design problems. The positive results in this study strongly suggest the pedagogical model employed is well suited to prepare Business students to be better future promoters and consumers of design.

JEL: I230

KEYWORDS: Collaborative Learning, Group Creativity, Group Dynamics, Design Making


Singapore, a tiny island-state with few natural resources, has, by necessity, invested heavily in education to develop its human capital to its fullest as a pillar of economic growth since its independence in 1965. In a speech on "Education for Competitiveness and Growth" at the Singapore Conference in Washington in February 2012, Singapore's Minister for Education, Mr Heng Swee Keat, likened the earlier years as "survival-driven" and "efficiency-driven" years (Heng, 2012). Singapore's economy has since developed rapidly and by the late 1990s, had transitioned into a knowledge-based economy. In 1997, the Prime Minister launched the Thinking Schools, Learning Nation initiative and the focus then switched to fostering greater critical thinking skills, creativity and innovation among its students, from primary schools, through secondary schools to universities (Goh, 1997).

Singapore's circumstances force it to develop its human capital seriously. It considers education as critical to its survival and education will shape its future. To remain competitive in the rapidly globalizing world, Singapore leaders firmly believe that its future knowledge workers need to have creative minds and multidisciplinary skills. These future workers will be the ones who will challenge the conventional approaches to business, communication and aesthetics to break new grounds and compete in the globalized economy. Much efforts and resources have thus been invested to release and develop creativity among these future knowledge workers.

This paper studies the benefits of collaborative learning in nurturing the creative minds of undergraduates. A case study of an elective course designed to facilitate creative thinking skills in solving design problems is presented. Emphasis is on creative collaboration in a learners' centric environment where students work in small groups. The results are encouraging and this pedagogical model can be considered to nurture and release learner's creativity in other disciplines.


Our nation's continual educational change places much emphasis on nurturing essential creative thinking skills of our future knowledge workers. So what are the essential creative thinking skills or creativity wanted in these workers? Can every individual be creative? Contrary to conventional belief that only a few can be creative, Richard Florida, an American urban studies theorist, once stated, "Every single human being is creative". He argued the world is shifting from an economy based on physical assets - land, capital, and labor - to one based on intellectual assets, or human creativity (Florida, 2006). Presentday research on creativity has broadened its scope to refer to creativity as "creative cognitive processes fundamental for human functioning and not a trait granted to a chosen few" (Moreau and Dahl, 2005). Simply put, "ordinary creativity rather than genius" (Craft, 2003). Judith Heerwagen who shares this perspective also believes all of us have the potential for creative expression. However, whether we express or suppress our innate creativity depends on "the socio-cultural context, personality differences, and specific personal experiences such as knowledge and skills" (Heerwagen, 2002). …

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