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Clare Creativity Conference a great success!

Our first creativity conference, How can large organisations be innovative?, held at Clare College, Cambridge, on 13th and 14th September 2004, was truly splendid. Delegates from a wide range of organisations – from BP to the European Court of Auditors, from Lloyds TSB to GlaxoSmithKline, from PwC to Unilever, from Egg to Scottish Power – had a vigorous and invigorating time discussing a topic of great common interest, how to make their organisations more innovative.

And the conference itself was innovative in more ways than one. Not a single powerpoint slide was used, and there wasn’t a laptop projector in the house. It was all about talk, discussion, dialogue; about listening, thinking and learning.

To set the conference off to a truly sparkling start, we held THE BIG DEBATE, moderated by Patrick McKenna, in which Adrian Furnham, Professor of Psychology at University College, London, proposed the motion This House believes that creativity is born, not made, presenting his arguments with eloquence, wit and wisdom. Then Dennis Sherwood opposed the motion, and although Dennis agreed that the fundamental hardware of the brain is genetically determined (“That’s why I’m different from an oak tree”), he passionately argued the case that we can all learn how to be more creative, especially in those areas of creativity applied to businesses, organisations and enterprises. The speeches from the floor were equally as exciting, and the final vote represented a defeat for the motion – but by the same number as the vote which was taken before the debate itself began! If you would like a CD recording of the debate, please do contact us.


In the evening, we all enjoyed a dinner in Clare’s Great Hall, to the gentle tones of our musician, Andrej Jovanic, who charmed us with his theorbo.


















The next day was spent in syndicate groups, discussing a total of twelve different topics including

  • how best to spot, and then deal with, disruptive technologies

  • the role of the central innovation department

  • how best to liaise with academic research departments

  • how to build a true culture of creativity and innovation.


Please click on the cover image to download a copy of the conference report, and do contact us for any further information.

And here is some of the feedback


“What did I enjoy most? Well, the general format: the absence of powerpoint presentations, the open discussion, and the thought-provoking facilitation.”


“I really enjoyed the environment, and the diversity of the attendees.”


“I found the conference very useful, with plenty of food for thought that will help us tackle the major issues.”


“I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, and the time spent with interesting, stimulating people. The two days allowed time for thinking. Excellent – thank you!”

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Paying attention at the Clare Creativity Conference 2004
Making a point at the Clare Creativity Conference 2004
Professor Adrian Furnham debating at the Clare Creativity Conference 2004
That's a good point!

Listen to THE BIG DEBATE...

The vote
The floor
Clare Creativity Conference 2004 report
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