October 12, 2001

Need an Injection of Innovation? UCLA Anderson Gives Execs Blast of Creativity to Fire Up Their Business Edge

Los Angeles — After a five-day intensive executive management program at UCLA Anderson , Sony Pictures executive Jules Rothenberg was able to lead his department out of a rut by developing creative, innovative teams.

The UCLA Creativity and Innovation in the Organization Program is designed for executives like Rothenberg, whose organizations seek an injection of creative management and entrepreneurial thinking to fire up their business edge. Held Nov. 5-9 by UCLA Anderson, the program also targets executives from smaller organizations and managers looking for creative strategies to maintain or build their business during different stages of growth.

"We began think differently about the way we did things," said Rothenberg, who is director of distribution and financial systems at Sony Pictures Entertainment in Culver City. "I came away from the program with my head turned around, thinking more creatively about how our department can be more productive and how to build a team in a positive way."

Rothenberg said the five Sony employees who took the course in June 2001 created a bond. They were inspired to share the principles they learned with others in their department. Now they are ready to roll out one of the pieces of the program - the creation of innovative thinking teams - to 30 other Sony employees. Ultimately, they hope to reach the entire 250-person department.

The UCLA program provides provocative ideas and frameworks to help participants tap into their creative potential. Professor Moshe Rubinstein, the program's faculty director, accomplishes this by teaching participants to "think backward" and "create order out of chaos."

"We provide very special processes which lead people to think in ways that are provocative and new. The course enables them to bring the future to the present and start acting on it now," said Rubinstein, an internationally renowned expert on problem-solving and creativity in organizations and a UCLA professor in engineering and applied sciences.

Rubinstein, who co-directs the program with Iris Firstenberg, an adjunct professor of psychology, helps business leaders gain a competitive edge. The kind of business plan Rubinstein teaches is one that is constantly changing.

"A plan should tell you what to do in the present and be constantly updated - you must constantly adapt in a world of complexity and uncertainty to get ahead of the competition," Rubinstein said.

Named one of UCLA's top 20 professors of the last century, Rubinstein himself is another reason why the Creativity and Innovation in the Organization Program is an "overwhelmingly positive experience," according to Rothenberg and other past participants.

"His teaching style is pretty amazing. He teaches by illustrations and stories to get a point across, and everyone who meets him becomes his friend," Rothenberg said.

To extend the educational experience of the Creativity and Innovation in the Organization Program, Rubinstein and Firstenberg founded the "A-B-C Creativity Network" at UCLA Anderson. A forum for action-based creativity, the network enables participants to provide mutual support and trust as they make changes in their organizations.

UCLA Anderson has been in the business of executive education since 1954. Each year the Office of Executive Education Programs offers more than 40 programs that incorporate the most recent innovations in management education, and hosts nearly 2,000 executives representing all continents and almost 50 nations.

For further information about the Creativity and Innovation in the Organization Program or other executive education programs, please call (310) 825-2001, e-mail execed@anderson.ucla.edu.

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