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Let’s get creative with leadership development!

There’s no doubting the fact that we live in a VUCA world – that’s Volatility, Uncertainly, Complexity and Ambiguity, just in case you were wondering (!) – where we need to build upon our resources to thrive (even still, merely to survive). The term VUCA is certainly applicable to the world we live in, but breaking this down even further, it is also crucial to the world we lead in.

There are unquestionably a number of different perspectives of leadership with some favouring the traditional forms in suggesting that it is made up of innate characteristics. As we have evolved, however, we now understand that leadership is more of a rounded concept; there are many distinct elements involved, of which creativity is just one of.

Innovation has certainly become a ‘buzz’ word over the recent years with many leaders required to demonstrate their ability to drive such agendas. Innovation goes hand-in-hand with creativity and so it is no wonder that Creative Leadership has gained mass interest over recent years.

So what is Creative Leadership? Creative Leadership extends the conversation beyond simply performance metrics, it is about imagining a future and communicating these ideas.

We need leaders who are comfortable with stepping into the unknown, leaders who understand that it is more than just the ‘here and now’ and that building a culture of innovation is what is needed for impactful and sustainable success.

Here at QUT Executive Education, we have noticed that our clients are becoming more intrigued with this concept and how they might integrate such approaches into their existing professional development programs. In line with QUT’s transdisciplinary approach toward Executive Education, we are fortunate enough to be able to connect our clients with leaders in this field. These subject matter experts are found in QUT’s Creative Industries Faculty.

What QUT’s Creative Industries Faculty (CIF) offer our clients is access to a range of innovative leadership development and teambuilding programs which draw on authentic action learning, design thinking, creative approaches and social neuroscience. Ultimately, building leadership and innovation skills across all areas of leadership and management, developing creative, holistic leaders.

There are a number of innovative approaches which the CIF use but one of my personal favourites is the Digital Case Study.

Digital Case Studies are live or filmed vignette case studies which explore issues relating to specific learning objectives, providing the core element of workshops and programs.

A key strength of the digital case study is that it makes it possible for participants to see versions of the future, especially flawed futures that can be corrected or transformed through their own interventions and actions. It helps to shifts one’s way of thinking from the ‘if only’ to the ‘what if’; ultimately, moving from problem-based to solution-based leadership.

In short, the digital case study model:

  • Respects participants’ existing knowledge
  • Acts as a catalyst to explore their own and others leadership lifelines
  • Identifies types of leadership styles and approaches
  • Explores context, timing, place, conflict, accountability, roles, relationships in leadership
  • Problematises below-the-line values and behaviours

These creative approaches to leadership development have received some wonderful feedback from clients. The general sense is that they offer a unique way to visualise leadership styles in action; they engage, entertain and offer deep emotional insights. With this kind of feedback, it’s certainly food for thought, isn’t it!


Kelly is a Partnership Manager within QUT Executive Education, partnering with organisations across the Health, Ageing and Disabilities sectors in respect to professional development. Kelly has a wealth of knowledge and experience in sales, marketing and communications, Human Resources and project management.

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