A research project that brings together theatre directors, sports coaches, advertising executives and research scientists might seem a prime example of academic eccentricity. On the contrary, it is a sober attempt by staff at Roffey Park Management Institute in West Sussex to investigate the effective management of creative groups - whether in the media, the performing arts, or industrial research and development. The premise of the study, explains visiting research fellow John Whatmore, is that many collaborative activities are based on similar processes of creativity. By understanding the role of managers in fostering creativity it is hoped that companies will be able to train and develop more effectively those responsible for turning ideas into products. At present, claims Whatmore, many organisations are failing to capitalise on the skills of their creative departments due to inadequate management training. The project is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry's innovation unit and a consortium of private sector companies, including several large pharmaceuticals firms. Over the next two years the results of the study will be disseminated through a series of seminars and courses.
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