MBA Course Descriptions
Foundations of Creative Enterprise
Social and technological drivers, as well as accompanying cultural change, bring complex innovation challenges for sustainable enterprise. In order for a business, nonprofit, public, or social enterprise to be a creative enterprise, specific management and leadership capabilities are needed for sustainable integration into a globalized, creative economy. This course is an overview of the integrated competencies required for successful participation in 21st century creative enterprises.
Leadership and Creative Inquiry I, II, III, IV
First and foremost, leaders must be learners. Expectations for ongoing learning in the management of enterprises continue to accelerate, as organizations learn to periodically reinvent themselves within an increasingly competitive, entrepreneurial culture. This course focuses on leadership capacities and creative inquiry skills developed through transformative learning practices.
This course examines the causes of the current recession along with community-based economic strategies for survival and recovery. The course begins with the theory of money as developed by Thomas H. Greco, Jr. and Bernard Lietaer (including a review of both the medium of exchange and store of value functions of money), along with an examination of the impact of the information management revolution on the systems properties of money. Most economics courses begin with the theory of markets—how money is used, not what it is. This course focuses both on regional crisis responses and on strategies for long-range investment in sustainable economic development. Applications will be explored for both the regional market economy and the regional commons.
Innovation, Culture, and Sustainability I, II, III
Sustainable Enterprises respond to wider social, technological, and cultural change with organizational capabilities for cultural innovation, institutional integrity, and wise entrepreneurial initiative. This course provides a practical understanding of the structures, processes, and practices utilized by organizations that sustain a triple bottom line within the transforming consciousness of generative globalization.
Research and Innovation in Business
Maintaining a healthy edge in the market place requires an understanding of, and ability to measure, sustainable business practices throughout the entire value chain. It includes analyzing internal progress as well as external markets to determine opportunities for creating new products and services, and the ability to communicate ideas to a diverse stakeholder group.
This course covers the preliminary steps needed to successfully launch a sustainable venture as either a new enterprise or within an established business. It includes the principles and practices of action and participation in sustainability research, true cost accounting, evaluation and reporting. Existing research tools and sustainability metrics and reports will be reviewed.
Collaborative and Cultural Leadership I, II, III, IV
Managing and leading effectively entails leading with others. Wherever people are working together, they do so within a pattern of habits that make up the enabling and limiting conditions of societal and organizational culture. This course emphasizes the integrated competencies required for entrepreneurial collaboration and cultural innovation within sustainable enterprises.
The marketing management process is critical to positioning an organization as a key contributor to a sustainable market in an emerging creative economy. It requires the ability to thoroughly analyze market strategies in order to make decisions that positively impact the organization and society as a whole.
This course approaches marketing strategy and frameworks, trends, concepts and marketing techniques in relation to today’s individual, organizational and societal needs. Some of the topics to be covered include research, target market and segmentation, societal and cause-related marketing, green marketing and branding.
A clear understanding of operations management is essential to building and maintaining a sustainable business. There are a wide range of opportunities to improve a company’s operations from worksite safety and employee training to product development. It is particularly critical as the emerging creative economy seeks to harness increased cultural diversity and creative talent among our workforce, locally and globally.
This course covers topics such as process analysis, supply chain management, quality and facility management. Additional topics reviewed include concepts of probability, statistics and optimization applied in operations management tools, process mapping and production technologies, as well as material use and reuse introduced through industrial ecology.
The evolution taking place in market strategy is creating a business consciousness that is socially and environmentally sensitive as part of an organization’s fundamental makeup. Trends are continuously emerging, providing opportunities to develop new strategies and revise organizational processes and structures that are more sustainable.
This course will give an overview of different market strategy techniques, providing a framework of understanding for the internal processes and structures needed to support sustainable organizations in times of economic volatility and change. In this context, sustainability becomes by definition good business strategy in an emerging creative economy.
The key to managing organizations more sustainably is to understand the principles and communicate the concepts of business finance to a larger audience. It provides in turn the foundation for a persuasive business case supporting socially responsible investing.
This course includes financial analysis and management in relation to areas such as financial ratios, assets and liabilities, financial planning and forecasting, assessing and managing risk. Additional topics such as time-value of money, financial markets and instruments, socially responsible investment (SRI) will be explored.
Effective managers in any industry need to be equipped with the knowledge and understanding of accounting in order to make business decisions that sustain a company through prosperous as well as lean times. Understanding accounting within the U.S. business environment will set the foundation for incorporating social and environmental practices into the accounting system.
This course approaches accounting from both the financial and managerial perspective. Examples of topics covered include, but are not limited to, the accounting process, financial statements, budgeting, cost-volume-profit analysis. Environmental, social, and ethical accounting issues will be introduced.
Business and Social Entrepreneurship
The transformative learning process creates an environment supporting the development of collaborative leadership capacities that successful entrepreneurs/intrapreneurs require in an emerging creative economy. These capacities help sustain creative thinking and sound decision-making in order to manage risk during all stages of a new business venture.
This course correlates the qualities found in today’s successful entrepreneurs/intrapreneurs and how they drive innovation in sustainable business. Building upon the introduction to research tools and sustainability metrics in previous courses, a more comprehensive picture will be presented that shows how innovation in sustainable ventures impact the development of social capital and large scale influence on social change.
Organizational Development and Transformation
Sustainable organizations in an emerging creative economy are dynamic in their response to managing change. Leading organizational change involves collaborative leadership, creativity, motivation and effective team dynamics, process stabilization and improvement.
This course covers the characteristics of a leadership team and their relation to successful organizational transformation in a creative economy. Additional topics include stages of commitment and behaviors organizations exhibit in relation to ecological and human sustainability and support systems needed to sustain long term change.
Human Resources Development
Human Resources is uniquely positioned to support the underpinnings of organizational transformation when considered an essential player on the executive leadership team. Without critical input and support from Human Resources, organizations are prone to marginalizing key implementation strategies and minimizing success due to obstacles such as change resistance and employee/managerial sabotage.
This course looks at the areas Human Resources can play a significant role in supporting human capital and the creation of a sustainable organization. Some of the areas include, but are not limited to, leadership development, training and development, change management, conflict facilitation, ethics and governance, diversity and teamwork.
Transformative Business Innovation
The recent Great Recession and other underlying economic trends have reduced the amount of capital available for non-profit funding of social enterprise. In this context, market-based models assume a larger role in leading social transformation. One of the most influential business thinkers in the world, C.K. Prahalad, suggests that innovative business models can effectively address the world’s poverty. He asserts that transformative missions like this can be undertaken not by adopting an industry’s “best practices” but by identifying “next practices” that have the potential to shift a market or society’s equilibrium. Building upon the Foundations of Creative Enterprise course, the process of identifying “next practices” is examined in greater depth. How do organizations consistently innovate in ways that transform our society? Specific examples will be examined. The limitations of market-based models will also be addressed.
Innovation and Information
Just as the measures imposed by the larger economy govern human behavior, businesses evolve internal measures of performance that impact the behavior of the people who work within them; so internal reporting policies are critical for guiding an enterprise into the future.
Business performance can be measured in many ways. The IRS measures taxable income with a set of specific regulations. Internally, business leaders use a wider set of measures to gauge an enterprise’s success that in turn create a company’s culture. This course looks at information systems, policies, and management in a sustainable enterprise, how those systems are designed and implemented, what information is captured, how use of these systems impacts human behavior, and how internal reporting should be carried out in order for decision makers to assess an enterprise’s success or shortcomings. The notions of “key success factors” and developing and tracking “core competencies” for an organization are examined in this context.
Global Business Meets Creative Enterprise
Typically the most transformative innovations originate at “the edge” of a society, with actions taken by bold pioneers and visionaries, so much of the talk of social innovation in business focuses on entrepreneurship. Yet much of today’s global economic activity is dominated by global enterprise that often fails to meet many criteria of social responsibility or sustainability. The information technology sector, global media, large oil and energy companies, the automotive industry, and large-scale agribusiness are a few examples of very powerful industries that continue to dominate global society. What level of creative enterprise is possible within these industries? How is change happening from within? What are the regulatory frameworks that inhibit possibilities for transformative change? This course focuses on the intersection of global enterprise and social responsibility, identifies hurdles and current trends, and examines opportunities where the two meet to form an axis of possibility for change.
Ecologically Restorative Business
Ecologically restorative enterprise will be a central theme in the transformative ventures of the future. Van Jones, former member of the Obama administration and founder of Green for All, points out there are already 80,000 people working in the wind power generation business in the United States, and 46,000 more working on solar power. This total already surpasses the total of 80,000 coal miners in the country working in the “old economy”. This course examines trends and the outlook for ecologically restorative enterprise including: solar and wind power generation, biomimicry, organic agriculture, permaculture, local foods, ecological building construction, green investment, venture capital, waste management, relevant regulation and government subsidy programs.
Leading a Creative Enterprise
Many interrelated factors underlie the ongoing success of a new or ongoing enterprise. This course utilizes key competencies and skills acquired in previous coursework to frame an integrated view of organizational leadership. This perspective looks at building success by weaving together essential strands of organizational and strategic leadership including: identifying a need for your product or service, creating a compelling mission statement, defining core competencies and key success factors, analyzing competition, team building, forming strategic alliances, establishing brand recognition, pricing and cost strategies, social media and promotion, acquiring customers and forging relationships, understanding financial projections, and building a comprehensive business plan. This course also provides a larger perspective by incorporating a brief survey of the history of entrepreneurship in the United States.
Emergent Thinking in the Creative Economy
Leading thinkers are collectively and individually re-imagining a future in which we conduct business in ways that restore the environment, build community and healthy relationships, create right livelihood, and promote social justice. In this course, cohorts will read current relevant articles and selections from books like Natural Capitalism by Paul Hawken, and Amory and Hunter Lovins, Biomimicry by Janine Benyus, and The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid by C.K. Prahalad, participate in seminars by business leaders and visionaries, and discuss and write about the ideas expressed. In the process, cohorts will nurture a framework for viewing the future of creative enterprise and create a context for building their own career.