The Interview

By Doug McPherson

Publish Date: September 5, 2013

Mick Jackowski is director of MSU Denver's Center for Innovation.

Q: The Center for Innovation is an ambitious title. What do you do there?
A: We provide small business ownership training and offer a minor or certificate in entrepreneurship. We are also launching a first-of-its-kind, six-week online course to help new franchisees. And we’ve recently started the first virtual incubator in higher education for the creative industries.

Q: How do you define creativity?
A: Creativity is the core of invention and innovation, that is, original thought that propels us towards advancement.

Q: Can anyone learn to become more creative? If so, what are your tips to becoming more creative?
A: Absolutely everyone can learn to become more creative. The first step is to always seek new sources of knowledge in unfamiliar areas. Then you must learn to analyze issues from a variety of perspectives, from the top, bottom, behind, fuse, omit, twist. Use all the verbs you can imagine. Once you start thinking like that, you start thinking differently.

Q: In a broader sense, how fundamental is creativity to tackling our current local and national challenges?
A: Creativity is the motor that propels innovation and invention. This is the most complex, competitive world we’ve ever had. Complex problems require complex, creative solutions.

Q: What, in your opinion, is the most life-changing example of creativity humans have witnessed?
A: In the sheer number of people affected, I believe it is the creation of satellites. They help us better forecast the weather that we now watch on one of the hundreds of TV channels sent from satellites. We can now call or write people on the other end of the planet. We can even see the people we call on the phone. I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface of both their current and future functionality.

Q: Is creativity becoming more important in the workforce?
A: Most certainly. Everyone should strive to be ingenious, not effective. One can be effective without being original, but our current and future world requires new thoughts that become new ways of existing. And when we approach this ideal en masse, we start imagining an otherwise unimaginable future that can now become reality.

Q: If you could say just one thing about creativity to MSU Denver students, staff and alumni, what would that be?
A: Creativity is more likely to occur if you focus on your passion. If you are passionate about something, that’s your brain’s rocket fuel. So, find your passion.