Are universities or companies more creative ?

Russell Turpin
Thu, 30 Aug 2001 13:19:55 +0000

Johan Heljm writes:
>You know, it seems to me that there is another issue buried here: Does 
>higher academic education foster
>creativity, or does that happen better in companies?

Personally, I think the answer is pretty obvious. People
are as creative as their institutions allow them to be. As
institutions, companies are more creative in discovering
viable business processes and in applying technology to
commercial purpose. Universities and research labs are
more creative in developing ideas that don't promise
profits in a short (or even medium) time frame, including
the creation of fundamental technological advances.

>.. Even though universites CAN be wonderfully creative places, oftentimes 
>when you become a graduate student you are pressed into a routine mental 
>model of the universe that precludes thinking out of the box. ..

Absolutely. Institutional inertia is a terrible thing.

>That is not to say that the corporate environment is especially creative. 
>But the good thing about the dotcom boom was that all of a sudden, there 
>was funding for crazy ideas.

Yeah, but for the most part, there were hundreds of
variations of the same dozen ideas. The Koolaid was a new
flavor, but everyone was drinking from the same jug.
Tellingly, most of the innovation had to do with business
process or application of technology to business purposes,
rather than the development of novel technology.


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