New Creativity + Innovation Minor Teaches Students How to Think

A purple background with PCI text over it
Nov 11 2022

As of this semester, NYU Shanghai students can now choose from a new minor: Creativity + Innovation. Open to all students, regardless of major, the new minor is housed within NYU Shanghai’s Program on Creativity + Innovation (PCI) and aims to help students develop their creative and innovative thinking and problem-solving techniques as they tackle the world’s challenges.

The minor requires 18 credits, including a 4-credit course called “Creativity Considered,” co-taught by NYU Stern Professor and faculty advisor Adam Brandenburger and NYU Shanghai Vice-Chancellor Jeff Lehman.

The minor’s courses include three new ways of thinking, among others: combinatory thinking, design thinking, and entrepreneurial thinking. Brandenburger describes combinatory thinking as the concept of taking two or more ideas from different fields and connecting them to come up with new, powerful ideas. Design thinking, he said, is the process of empathizing with people involved in a problem and finding ways to improve the world from different perspectives, and entrepreneurial thinking is the idea of taking challenges we face and turning them into opportunities. The courses in the minor are designed to help students shift their focus from “what they think, to how they think,” he said.

In addition, there are two broad goals of the minor: self realization, in which students can understand their own creative DNA and gain confidence in their creative abilities and work, and social contribution, in which students aim to use their creative problem solving to contribute to improvements in the world.

“We believe that some time spent on self-reflection about one’s own creative processes can reap dividends in all areas of future work,” said Brandenburger. “We anticipate that a Creativity and Innovation minor will, over time, yield a strongly connected alum community, whose members will share how their experiences and work have benefited from the minor.”