‘Creative Greenhouse’ Energizes Learning at TU

The Collins College of Business at The University of Tulsa is turning the classroom concept on its head with the opening of Studio Blue, a one-of-a-kind resource designed to super-charge student creativity and spark innovation for companies and other organizations.
With the fall semester just underway, students have already used the studio to help Gilcrease Museum revamp its retail shop and assess the opinions of Tulsans about membership. They also helped the Resonance program by developing training materials and business development strategies for its CertiRestore franchise, and they hosted a quirky video-project for incoming freshmen. Dubbed the “Creative Greenhouse,” the studio this fall will challenge students to generate useful products out of discarded pizza boxes in a competition sponsored by Mazzio’s.
“A lot of people believe you are either born with the gift of creativity or you’re not,” said Charles Wood, associate professor of marketing. “The whole idea behind Studio Blue is that, given the right environment, creativity can be learned. Furthermore, creative thinking can be a very useful tool for solving problems and improving organizations.”
Unlike other classrooms inside Helmerich Hall, the physical space of Studio Blue is designed to trigger activity in the right brain, the cerebral hemisphere known for less-linear functions such as spatial manipulation and artistic ability. Many aspects of the free-flowing learning area are based on the work areas at Ideo Studios, the award-winning design firm in California. It’s equipped with mobile furniture, iMacs, magnetic and dry-erase walls, a viewing room for focus groups and observations, an array of cameras and other brainstorming tools.
Business classes take place in Studio Blue and it also serves as a venue for various meetings, competitions, and workshops for all of TU.
“The goal is to be interdisciplinary,” said Jacob Johnson, Studio Blue creative director. “We are a facility for all students to come in and work on projects outside of class and immerse themselves in the creative process.”

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