Contact: Ian Bentley

Speaker:  Phil Dolan
Topic:       Creative Thinking

Our guest speaker this week is Rotary Hawthorn member, Phil Dolan. Phil has held multiple positions in academia and business, including Dean of the Business School at the University of Western Australia, and Head of Investment Research at Macquarie Bank. Along with his current interest in investing in start-ups, Phil is an Adjunct Professor at La Trobe University where he teaches Creative Thinking and Creative Problem Solving, in the Schools of Business and Humanities and Social Sciences.

What is "creative thinking" and creativity? It is more than just "having good ideas". Most experts define creativity as producing something new and useful - ie “appropriate novelty”. At its core, creativity is basically a mixture of novelty and utility. It is relatively easy to get ideas that are one or the other. We want to avoid Samuel Johnson's criticism of an author whose book he was asked to review. "Your book is both new and interesting. Unfortunately, the parts that are new are not interesting, and the parts that are interesting are not new".

Several studies have concluded creative thinking can be taught, and there are effective ways to do it. Successful techniques involve the use of toolkits and strategies that can be generalised.

This talk will look at a couple of useful tools for developing creative ideas, and ways in which ideas can be evaluated, with examples drawn from some of history’s most creative thinkers.