Custom Education

Gaining the Creative Edge in Critical Situations

How Arts-based Learning Strengthens Agility in Professional Environments

Adapted from an original article by Grace Kirk.

Paramedics handle high-intensity situations on a daily basis. Traditionally, their training is technical and process-driven, so that ambulance officers can work together to save a life. For paramedic team leaders, a new set of challenges awaits them when they arrive back at the station. In an office, being reactive and action-oriented – traits usually respected in their field – can be detrimental to effective leadership.

In response to this tension, a team of QUT EX Creative Leadership experts is collaborating with the Queensland Ambulance Service to design and deliver the Classified Officers’ Development Program (CODP). This leadership education course employs creativity, the arts, self-expression and a sense of ‘play’ to address the specific challenges paramedics face. “There is real hunger for creativity across all industries” according to CODP program leader Professor Judith McLean. “Companies that encourage employees to learn the creative process alongside their core technical skills can help to make staff more agile and adaptable.”

The CODP program uses the arts to train ambulance officers in leadership education

The CODP enhances skills in negotiation, reflection and creativity. It also helps build competence in managing difficult conversations. As one CODP participant states: “Role modelling is paramount in creating and building an organisational culture that stimulates creativity and innovation.” According to QAS Program Manager David Lucas: “The partnership with QUT has been wonderful, and we’re very happy with the content QUT has developed and the support QUT provides.”

CODP uses creative methodologies such as design-led thinking, storytelling and drama

More than ever, organisations need creative leaders who:

  • can navigate complexity and disruption;
  • are intuitive and wise;
  • understand how to create a high-performance culture
CODP facilitators Georgia Seffrin, Judith McLean and Lowanna Dunn

QUT EX offers a range of outstanding Creative Leadership development opportunities, from short courses to customised programs like the CODP. Learn more at QUT EX

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Paul Makeham is an Adjunct Professor in QUT’s School of Creative Practice. His previous leadership roles at QUT include Director of Corporate Education (Creative Industries); Head of School (Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts); and Portfolio Director (Drama, Film & TV, Creative Writing). He was Foundation Coordinator of QUT’s Bachelor of Creative Industries, the world’s first degree program of its type. Paul was Chair of the Board of La Boite Theatre Company (2012-15). He has an extensive record of achievement as a producer, writer, presenter and performer, and leads a range of commercial partnerships incorporating creative arts techniques. With a focus on leadership and professional development, this work commonly incorporates an original applied theatre model termed a ‘Prophetical’. Complementing this work, Paul collaborates with Queensland Health’s Clinical Excellence Division on an ‘Open Disclosure’ clinician training consultancy.

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