“Creativity” as a final-year option in Montpellier Business School’s Grande École Master’s course

As part of the reform of the final year of the Grande École Master’s course, Montpellier Business School is innovating by giving a voice to its final-year students, most of whom who are on sandwich courses, to identify specific and customised 15-hour long optional courses, assessed as part of the specialisation process.

“Indeed, we have seen that the nearer our students got to the end of their course, the more they were able to identify their own needs in terms of additional training. Moreover, this is what they will do or what their managers will do for them in the near future. We asked them to identify the global needs by major themes in their class, without a limitation on subjects. This visibly pleased them, because we have received about thirty modules for which we have had to find corresponding stakeholders”, says Dr David Roubaud, Academic Director of Montpellier Business School.

Dr Olga den Besten, doctor of psychology, writer and creativity coach was head of the “Creativity” option, requested by thirty or so students. “The purpose of my course was to provide an opportunity for students to become aware of different ways of thinking. I wanted to help them break free of social inhibitions to unlock their imagination. The course includes individual and group exercises, to bring down the wall of censorship they impose on themselves. The watchword? Nothing is impossible! After decrypting the notion of creativity, I got them to work on simple exercises allowing them to lift the controls they had erected themselves. I made them, for example, produce a self-portrait with their eyes closed. By discovering that the nose sometimes goes beyond the shape of the face or that the whole is not symmetrical... they realise that it is not necessarily harmful to make mistakes and that we cannot constantly control everything. It was only later that I brought them together around a general economic, ecological and social issue in order to generate ideas and offer solutions without self-censorship and without judgment from the other participants. A real treasure for a manager.”

From childhood, we are conditioned to evaluate ourselves, to control ourselves. In school, mistakes are punished by bad marks or mockery. We forge our identity without including the right to make mistakes, because society requires us to be perfect and to not stand out too much. But this conditioning is an obstacle to creativity and innovation. Initially a bit shy, the students were able to “let go” and develop their ideas, put forward proposals and be creative. In the end, the students were surprised by both the exercises and by their results! They will remember Edward de Bono's six hats as a method of organising individual and collective thought for a long time!

And in principle, they have asked for more of it! Thank you Dr Den Besten