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Innovation and Creativity Learning Road Map

Find out about courses and other resources to contribute to your Individual Development Plan (IDP).

Related UC Core Competencies:

  • Communication
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Employee Engagement
  • Innovation and Change Management
  • Job Mastery and Continuous Learning
  • Teamwork and Collaboration

Summary: Key learnings that can be gleaned from this Learning Road Map include:

  • How you can expand your “out-of-the-box” thinking
  • How to use innovation and creativity to problem-solve and improve business processes
  • How to learn lessons from outside your industry and apply them to your area

Certificate Available: No.

Developing on the Job

  • Review and contribute to UC San Diego’s IdeaWave platform
  • Use creative thinking strategies: carve out dedicated time and deeply study the issue, think out loud, practice picking out anomalies, look for distant parallels
  • Find a good sounding board to increase your understanding of a problem or issue
  • Talk with an expert in an unrelated field
  • Turn the problem upside down
  • Break rules and invent new ones
  • Practice true brainstorming, especially without judging ideas
  • Study mistakes and failure as learning opportunities
  • Apply standard problem-solving skills: ask more questions; translate an issue/problem into a visual format
  • Utilize TQM tools like fishbone diagrams, flowcharts, nominal group technique, etc.
  • Let the issue/problem percolate
  • Clearly define what the problem is and what the problem is not
  • Look for patterns in data, even data that is seemingly unrelated
  • Think of at least three solutions before you choose one
  • Involve the broadest and most diverse group of individuals to help you solve a problem, even if they are not familiar with the problem
  • Use quick and inexpensive ways to test your ideas and to increase your chances of success
  • View episodes of the History Channel’s Modern Marvels
  • Help someone solve a problem with which you are unfamiliar
  • Launch a new product, service, or process
  • Relaunch a product, service, or process that is not doing well
  • Manage a group through a difficult issue
  • Take on a task where others have resisted or failed
  • Take on a task you dislike
  • Monitor how you approach tasks and get out of the “autopilot” mode
  • Break-up and re-organize your routine
  • Try something new and uncomfortable
  • Develop a philosophical stance toward failure/criticism
  • Develop your curiosity – become a student of innovation outside your field, become a student of others
  • Survey customers or clients that you have lost, determine the reasons, and see if there is a relationship between those reasons
  • Check out IDEO
  • Research design thinking and identify opportunities to incorporate it into your work
  • Take the Epstein Creativity Competencies Inventory for Individuals at MyCreativitySkills
  • Try out one of these strategies to become creative (ASTD Trainer’s Sourcebook on Creativity and Innovation):
    • Visualization: seeing the preferred future, seeing the ideal
    • Exploration: using metaphors, analogies or symbols to question assumptions and to jolt our paradigms
    • Combination: bringing various elements together in different ways
    • Modification: improvising, adapting, adjusting what you already have
  • Demonstrate and develop these managerial creativity competencies (The Big Book of Creativity Games, Robert Epstein, Ph.D.)
    • Encourage preservation of new ideas
    • Challenge employees
    • Encourage broadening of knowledge and skills
    • Manage surroundings to stimulate creativity
    • Manage teams to stimulate creativity
    • Manage resources to stimulate creativity
    • Provide feedback and recognition to stimulate creativity
    • Model appropriate creativity-management skills
  • If you are a manager or leader, create an open climate (The ASTD Trainer’s Sourcebook, Elaine Biech):
    • Encourage flexibility and creativity
    • See things from your employees’ viewpoints
    • Respect everyone for the diversity each brings
    • Stimulate free expression of ideas
    • Encourage employees to find answers creatively
    • Give clear objectives and specific feedback

Learning from Others

  • Mentor
    • Our colleague division of Equal Opportunity/Staff Affirmative Action offers the Career Connection Mentorship Program.  The Career Connection Mentorship Program matches staff mentors and mentees based on their interests and experiences, and provides assistance with goal setting, job satisfaction, job enhancement and lateral or upward mobility.  Please call 858.822.2633 for more information.
  • Feedback from Others
    • Seek feedback from professionals trained and certified in your area of development, your boss, direct reports, past associates or constituencies, internal and external customers, HR professionals, peers and colleagues
    • Seek feedback from a wide base of diverse constituencies and individuals
    • Hire a tutor or coach


  • Take the Road to Creativity and Get Off Your Dead End, David Campbell
  • The Art of Problem Solving, Russell Ackoff
  • Lateral Thinking, Edward de Bono
  • Serious Creativity, Edward de Bono
  • Edison on innovation: 102 Lessons in creativity for business and beyond, A. Axelrod
  • Iconoclast: A neuroscientist reveals how to think differently, G. Berns
  • Management and creativity: From creative industries to creative management, C. Bilton.
  • Imagination engineering: The toolkit for business creativity, P. Birch and B. Clegg
  • Innovate the Pixar way: Business lessons from the world’s most creative corporate playground, B. Capodagli and L. Jackson
  • Big ideas: Putting the zest into creativity and innovation at work, J. Ceserani
  • Instant creativity: Simple techniques to ignite innovation and problem solving, B. Clegg and P. Birch
  • Creativity unlimited: Thinking inside the box for business innovation, M. Dahlen
  • Thinking creatively at work: A sourcebook, P. D’Cruz
  • Creativity at work: Developing the right practices to make innovation happen, J. DeGraff and K. A. Lawrence
  • A peacock in the land of penguins: A fable about creativity and courage, B. J. Gallagher Hateley and W. H. Schmidt
  • Innovate like Edison: The success system of America’s greatest inventor, M. Gelb and S. M. Caldicott
  • On creativity, innovation, and renewal: A leader to leader guide, F. Hesselbein and R. Johnston
  • Breakthrough creativity: Achieving top performance using the eight creative talents, L. C. Levesque
  • Accidental genius: Using writing to generate your best ideas, insight, and content, M. Levy
  • Thinkertoys: A handbook of creative-thinking techniques, M. Michalko
  • Creativity in virtual teams: Key components for success, J. Nemiro
  • The riddle: Where ideas come from and how to have better ones, A. Razeghi
  • Brain storm: Tap into your creativity to generate awesome ideas and remarkable results, J. R. Rich
  • The little prince, A. Saint-Exupery
  • Group genius: The creative power of collaboration, K. Sawyer
  • Expect the unexpected or you won’t find it: A creativity tool based on the ancient wisdom of Heraclitus, R. Von Oech
  • New ideas about new ideas: Insights on creativity with the world’s leading innovators, S. P. White
  • The Soul of a New Machine, Tracy Kidder (Skillsoft)
  • The Four Lenses of Innovation: A Power Tool for Creative Thinking, Rowan Gibson (Skillsoft)
  • The Big Book of Creativity Games: Quick, Fun Activities for Jumpstarting Innovation (Big Book Series), Robert Epstein, Ph.D.
  • Developing Management Skills, David A. Whetten, Kim S. Cameron
  • Become an Idea Machine: Because Ideas are the Currency of the 21st Century, Claudia Azula Altucher
  • Encyclopedia of Creativity, Invention, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Elias G. Carayannis, editor-in-chief
  • Crisp: Rousing Creativity (Crisp Professional Series), Floyd Hurt
  • Creativity and Innovation: The ASTD Trainer’s Sourcebook, Elaine Biech
  • Overfished Ocean Strategy: Powering Up Innovation for a Resource-Deprived World
  • Riding the Creative Rollercoaster: How Leaders Evoke Creativity, Productivity and Innovation, Nick Udall  (Skillsoft)
  • The Art of Insight: How to Have More AHA! Moments, Charles Kiefer and Malcolm Constable  (Skillsoft)
  • The New Age of Innovation: Driving Cocreated Value Through Global Networks, C. K. Prahalad and M. S. Krishnan  (Skillsoft)
  • Innovation in a Reinvented World: 10 Essential Elements to Succeed in the New World of Business, Dee McCrorey  (Skillsoft)
  • Who Killed Creativity?:  . . . And How Can We Get It Back?  Seven Essential Strategies to Make Yourself, Your Team and Your Organisation More Innovative, Andrew Grant, Gaia Grant, and Jason Gallate  (Skillsoft)
  • Nanovation: How a Little Car Can Teach the World to Think Big and Act Bold, Kevin Freiberg, Jackie Frieberg, and Dain Dunston  (Skillsoft)
  • Check out Kogan Page Innovation and Best Practice for Business Success webpage at Kogan Page

E-Learning Modules

Related Skillsoft Courses

  • The Foundations of Creativity and Innovation
  • Generating Creative and Innovative Ideas:  Enhancing Your Creativity
  • Generating Creative and Innovative Ideas:  Maximizing Team Creativity
  • Generating Creative and Innovative Ideas:  Verifying and Building on Ideas

Other Skillsoft Resources

  • Best Practices for Innovation Leaders (Job Aid)
  • Boosting Your Creativity (Job Aid)
  • Building an Innovative Culture (SkillBrief)
  • A Business Innovation Culture (SkillBrief)
  • Characteristics and Actions of an Innovation Leader (SkillBrief)
  • Characteristics of an Innovation Culture (Job Aid)
  • Creative Work Environment Characteristics (SkillBrief)
  • Creative Process Model (Job Aid)
  • Creativity Barriers (SkillBrief)
  • Criteria for Evaluating a Build (Job Aid)
  • Criteria for Verifying the Workability of Ideas (Job Aid)
  • Determining If Ideas Will Work (SkillBrief)
  • Enhancing Your Creativity (SkillBrief)
  • Executing Innovation (Video)
  • Facilitating Brainstorming (Job Aid)\
  • Leading Innovation (Video)
  • Personal Characteristics for Creativity (SkillBrief)
  • Role Playing Guidelines (Job Aid)
  • Techniques for Brainstorming (SkillBrief)
  • Techniques for Role Playing (SkillBrief)
  • Using an Idea as a Base to Build On (SkillBrief)
  • Using the Creative Process to Your Advantage (SkillBrief)


For more information, contact Staff Education and Development, (858) 534-4890.