“Creativity & Innovation Project” launched at Coles College

The Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University is launching a unique new educational…

Georgia (May 5, 2005) — “Creativity & Innovation Project” launched at Coles College

Terri Thornton


Contact: Terri Thornton‚ 404−932−4347 or territhornton@mindspring.com

The Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University is launching a unique new educational outreach − The Creativity & Innovation Project. The project utilizes a faculty of 12 experts in the field of applied creativity.

Its goals include offering graduate MBA courses and developing custom designed courses to meet training needs using innovation relative to sales‚ marketing‚ new product development‚ team work and other people− or product−related areas; to provide applied creativity training for corporations and corporate universities; and to perform research on how the tools of creativity make companies more productive. Harry Vardis‚ founder of Creative Focus‚ Inc.‚ a market research firm in Atlanta‚ has been named director of the project.

“Managers must constantly find creative solutions to complex problems‚” Vardis says. “In the course of my work I have observed that once people learn how to expand their comfort zone and take risks‚ not only do they become more innovative‚ but they also make great contributions to the growth of their companies‚” Vardis explains.

“People might assume that creativity relates to specific fields such as marketing and product development‚” says project co−founder Gary Selden‚ a Professor of Marketing and Sales. “In reality‚ creativity and innovation are essential in every kind of business.”

Vardis has more than 30 years experience in marketing communications and new product positioning with major advertising agencies in New York and Atlanta. He also created the SynTactics and the PISCES processes‚ which are tools used in his consulting work and are taught in the courses.

Using a proprietary inventory that helps people sort out the aspects of the creative process for which they are best suited‚ Vardis and his faculty of 12 applied creativity experts train participants in these courses to discover the answer to the question‚ “How are you creative?” rather than the more traditional ”How creative are you?” For example‚ some people have great ideas‚ but have trouble implementing them. Others may struggle for ideas‚ yet excel at leading or implementing creative projects.

This new group of faculty currently teach a five−day long MBA graduate level course at KSU which is described as a “boot camp for creativity.” Its lessons include isolating issues that block creativity; innovation on demand; cultivating and harvesting ideas within a business plan; making effective presentations of ideas; using improvisational skills to think on your feet; and architectural workspace design to induce or reduce innovation in an organization.

Teams of participants use creativity tools to develop‚ reposition or extend a line of products. On the final day of class‚ which in this case will be May 17‚ they present their improved products to judges acting as investors.

The course has been described by The Financial Times and The Boston Globe as a place where students are encouraged to take risks and learn leadership skills.

“It is an environment like no other in business courses‚” Vardis says. “Now‚ The Creativity and Innovation Project is ready to take the course to the business world as a two−day or four−day course.”


Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive‚ residential institution with a growing student population of 18‚000 from 132 countries. The third largest university in the state‚ and a member of the 34−institution University System of Georgia‚ KSU offers more than 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu