Creative Thinking and Strategy

Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

Indian Institute of Management Bangalore


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Who should attend

CEOs, COOs, CXOs, Vice Presidents, General Managers, Business Heads and Entrepreneurs

About the course

While the teaching of strategy has traditionally focused on rigorous analytical approaches, the practice of strategy has always recognized the importance of creative thinking. According to a recent survey of CEOs by IBM, creative thinking has been identified as one of the most critical competencies that a leader needs to develop. The importance of creative thinking for strategy can only be expected to go up in a world where increasing prevalence of digitization and artificial intelligence changes the way we do business. Research shows that the economic output of a country is correlated with its level of creativity. In the Global Creativity Index, India ranks 99th, indicating the strong imperative for Indian companies to become more creative.

Programme Objective

While linear thinking is the bedrock of both hindsight about the past and insight into the present, creating breakthrough strategies requires imagination and crucial foresight about the future. To do so, managers must move beyond the insights that traditional analytical approaches provide to something that is cognitively distant. Bridging this cognitive distance requires use of creative thinking techniques and, as Steve Jobs famously put it, seeing what no one else is seeing. This program will enable participants to become more creative in their business decisions by helping them learn various creativity techniques. It will also help in their journey as leaders who can visualize and create breakthrough strategies and transform their organizations into innovative ones.


Link between creative thinking & strategy.

Strategic Thinking is at the convergence of systems thinking, game theory and cognitive psychology. Creative thinking is that vital part of cognitive psychology which this programme addresses. This process of creative thinking starts with continuous framing and reframing of a given challenge to arrive at the ‘real’ challenge that an organization is facing. Each creative thinking technique, then, allows us to view this real challenge using a different lens like the multi camera view of a cricket match. Business model innovations and organizational transformations are often anchored in such a creative process. Finally, the process of connecting the dots helps develop a foresight for the future. Breakthrough strategies which enable the achievement of this imagined future provide the much-needed sustainable competitive advantage. A granular and robust implementation strategy completes the strategic thinking process. These sessions will help you make the link between creating thinking and strategy and help you in creating breakthrough strategies for your organization.

Techniques of creative thinking.

Increasingly, it is being recognized that creativity is not all due to an innate ability. It is an ability that all of us can acquire and improve upon by learning new techniques and engaging in the right behaviors. In these sessions, you will learn several techniques for creative thinking: Associative Thinking (the ability to make connections across areas of knowledge, industries, and even geographies), Questioning (the ability to ask the right questions that will help you in a better framing of the ‘real’ problem), Reverse Assumptions (consciously challenging and reversing the stated/unstated assumptions can lead to innovative approaches to a decision/business model), Opposites (the ability to work with conflicting choices simultaneously and come up with a solution which trumps them) and Connecting The Dots (systems and sub-systems in the environment are constantly knocking into each other to create Strange Attractors. Connecting these dots can help you better decode the constantly evolving environment, develop the most likely scenarios, and identify signposts which need to be monitored so as to decide which scenario to invest in).

Underlying Neuroscience.

Our brain is wired to function in an efficient, unchanging manner, thereby preventing new ways of approaching challenges. An understanding of the functioning of the Executive and Default Networks of the human brain helps to turbocharge the breakthrough thinking process. Similarly, an understanding of ‘fear of failure’ helps leaders provide an enabling environment for collective creativity within their organization.

Collective creativity.

In most organizations, creativity is not solely due to a few creative individuals. It is often the outcome of bringing together the contributions of several individuals. Therefore, it is critical for leaders to manage the collective creativity of their organizations. In these sessions, participants will learn about managing collective creativity: how to inspire employees and help them become more creative, design of teams, developing the right group norms, building connections within and outside the organization, enriching the physical workplace, performance management and showing support as a leader.


This will be a very ‘hands-on’ program. We will use case studies, discussions, exercises and presentations to enhance active learning. Participants will also be expected to work on a project during the duration of the program. This project will give them an immediate chance to implement their learnings.


Sai Yayavaram

Professor Sai Yayavaram joined IIM Bangalore as an Associate Professor in the Strategy Area in July 2013. Prior to joining IIM Bangalore, he was with the National University of Singapore for nine years. He worked as a consultant in the Tata Strategic Management Group, Bombay from 1994-98. His r...

Sujit Kumar

A keen competence enhancer, Sujit Kumar is an Adjunct/Visiting Professor of Strategy at IIM Bangalore and IIM Ahmedabad where he teaches elective courses, curated by him, to MBA students and working executives. He has spent 35 years in leadership roles in different industries after graduating fro...

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Creative Thinking and Strategy at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

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Coursalytics is an independent platform to find, compare, and book executive courses. Coursalytics is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or otherwise affiliated with any business school or university.

Full disclaimer.

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