“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” – Steve Jobs
I love the quote above as it assimilates a dream that I have for my students, and hopefully a dream that many of you have for your students as well. I often ask my students, if you could do anything, anything in the world with no hindrances, what would it be? The truth be told, if all of us were allowed to do what we really wanted to do, we would revert to whatever we find most enjoyable or most successful that truly brings joy in our lives. And if I am truly honest with you, The Social Media Magnet has helped me rediscover these things in my own life, because it has allowed me to create. Everyday now, I truly get to be creative. Whether that’s writing blogs like this one, building new funnel strategies, composing new website content, designing selling strategies, or looking for just the right picture or graphic that conveys the emotion I am trying to express (which I really love the one from this post).
Creativity is an important part of each of our lives. At the core, innovation is what makes being human so special. Our inner monologue is constantly creating. Granted, we have to guard what our minds create within that inner-monologue, whether it is positive or negative reinforcement of our own psyches. But I would contend that if you can truly find the opportunity to creatively renew your mind daily, then you are already on the road to success. The Social Media Magnet continues to help me find this space weekly, if not daily, and we believe it is essential for marketing students to learn how to be creative and experience the process of creativity.
Therefore, the question for you and me as professors is: how can we help our students find their own creative space as well? How can I help my students nurture their own creativity in my class? Educational research has demonstrated that marketing students view creativity as more important than other business majors and with equal importance to other supporting skills including writing, oral presentation, teamwork, leadership, knowledge of major area, and knowledge of business (McCorkle et al. 2007). This research also demonstrates that marketing and business students generally agree that creativity is not entirely innate but can be learned, and that they can use creativity to improve their originality, quantity, and quality of their ideas and solutions to marketing problems. Therefore, as the authors rightly conclude, if students truly believe they can learn creativity, then it is imperative upon us as professors to provide avenues that nurture and train creativity in the classroom, and then reward them for their creativity.
When Elliott Cunningham and I started this journey to develop The Social Media Magnet, which I have discussed previously in my Professor Story, on many occasions we have talked about providing the opportunity for student’s to be able to tap into their own creativity in the classroom. We dreamed of student projects that would be composed of their own thoughts, their own fascinations, their own words, their own campaigns. We wanted the framework of a simulation, but wanted the freedom of an individual project. We specially wanted each student to be able to design and create in a space that was completely theirs, that was void of any inhibitions, that was a blank canvas on which they would construct their projects in our class. Inevitably, for many students, the creation of the idea is the hardest part. But when they grasp the vision of their own ideas, many of them just blossom, and they are recognizing the merits of this opportunity (see our student stories).
The creativity that we have seen in our student projects is just amazing. For example, we have highlighted one of my past students, Frank Paris, and his project entitled The Wedgewood Enquirer in one of our student stories blogs which you can read about here because we were blown away by his creativity. Naturally, his creativity led to a higher objective ranking on his project verses the other student’s in his class because it kept his target market continually coming back for more content, but it was important for him to recognize that his creativity was being rewarded across the board, not just in the analytics but as a subjective measure as well. This is why I have built in a 15% subjective grading component into the final grade in the class, so that I can personally reward those students creativity that has ascended during the semester.
Needless to say, we feel that one of our major advantages in this educational market is our ability to allow students to be creative. They get to create their own website and social media campaign from their own interests. They start with a topical brainstorm assignment and move those ideas into a branding assignment. Then they move those concepts into building a website and social media campaign that they can choose to keep at the end of the semester. Then, at that time, they earn our Social Media Magnet certification and access to a community on LinkedIn that will hire them for internships and jobs based on their new skill sets displayed within the portfolio of evidence that employers can access through their LinkedIn profile. We have tried to be as creative in our design of this process as we ask our students to be. We try to creatively use every avenue we can to teach them the employable skill sets they need in this new digital world, and now we want to be able to share these resources with all of you as well.
Why don’t you join us on this journey? If you are a college professor and are just becoming familiar with what we do at The Social Media Magnet, check our professor overview with highlights of our features and benefits. If you are interested in considering The Social Media Magnet for your university, we have a professor preview function that will allow you to see and work with some of the content. If you are already in preview, which many of you are, and you are ready to commit to using our curriculum in your next semester’s class, then fill out our Commitment Form to get on-boarded and prepped for your next class. Or if you just have some general questions, feel free to contact us. We would love to assist you however possible.
McCorkle, D.E., J. M. Payan, J.R. Reardon, and N.D. Kling (2007). Perceptions and Reality: Creativity in the Marketing Classroom. Journal of Marketing Education, 29 (3), 254-261.