Published 10/30/17

Innovative teaching yields big results

Professor Jiang with student What Management Professors Crystal Jiang, Ph.D., and Dirk Primus, Ph.D., and Instructor Chris Ratcliffe (at left, top to bottom) have discovered about creativity and industry disruption is helping them prepare Bryant students to build what the future needs. The trio recently presented their research at the International Society of Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM) conference.

Primus, working with Jiang, presented a study investigating the positive effects of using creative methods like model building on team dynamics.

Their research centered on information gathered from last year’s MBA boot camp where new students were led through the process of using creative methods, such as model building using Lego bricks and play dough, to design a conceptual business model that exploits the opportunities associated with urban transportation in the mega-cities of the 21st century.

"We found that working in teams resulted in a positive impact on MBA students’ openness and creativity, as well as their contribution and commitment to their team and the overall positive team climate."

“We found that working in teams resulted in a positive impact on MBA students’ openness and creativity, as well as their contribution and commitment to their team, and the overall positive team climate,” Jiang notes.

Prof. Primus headshot “We are wired to play,” explains Primus, “but as we get older, that instinct is suppressed and we lose that ability.  When you work with your hands and get crafty, you have different kinds of ideas and revelations when you think about difficult problems.”

In research conducted with Primus, Ratcliffe used the disruption of the television industry by cable television, as a case model in asking why industry leaders sometimes fail to see the threats from disruptive technologies, and under what conditions industry disruptors can conceal the threats that they pose.

Prof. Ratcliffe with student The trio used the insights they’ve gained in developing Bryant’s new Strategic Management of Technological Innovation course, which helps undergraduate students develop strong conceptual foundations for understanding innovative and emergent technologies. The class will use case studies, hands-on learning, and guest lectures from innovators to foster an environment that inspires creativity.

“I’m always thinking about innovation,” says Primus, “and how to get the best out of everyone. When we use different methods to teach it helps students build confidence and improves team interactions. They also learn some surprising things about themselves:  new talents, new sides to themselves, new things they enjoy.”