Want to Nurture Creativity? First, Get the Culture Right

Is creativity inborn or can it be taught? David Yager, CEO of the University of the Arts (UArts) in Philadelphia, believes it can be taught. It’s one of his main areas of focus at the institution. Yager is working on building a Ph.D. program on creativity that can attract people from diverse backgrounds such as science, art, engineering and business. “We are looking at creativity across different disciplines … [and] trying to understand the drivers for creative people,” he says. In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton, Yager spoke recently with Jerry Wind, an emeritus professor of marketing at Wharton and Grace Cho, CEO of Orangenius, a firm that helps artists develop business skills, about how an organization’s culture plays a significant role in teaching, identifying and nurturing creativity; his attempts to change the culture at the 141-year-old UArts; and why it is important that creativity and business acumen go hand in hand. This interview is part of a series produced in collaboration with Orangenius.

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President David Yager, Inauguration Speech — “Imagine” October 17, 2016, Merriam Theater

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