ESADE Business School Pioneers 'Creactivism'—A New Approach To Business Education

Creativity and activism lie at the heart of ESADE Business School's MBA program which pushes students to view uncertainties as opportunities. We speak to associate dean, Luis Vives, to find out more

The future is always uncertain, complex, difficult to define. Yet with the current pace of technological developments, increasing polarization of politics, and tumultuous economic changes, it’s fair to say that uncertainty has rarely ever been so pronounced.

For many, it can seem like these disruptions are outside the sphere of our control, and that we have no option but to adapt. However, effective leadership isn't just about adapting to external disruptions. Leadership means holding the reigns and managing disruptive trends, steering business and society towards a more prosperous future.

Business schools understand that these issues are more pressing than ever with the threats posed by climate change, automation, and political instability. In such an age, education must emphasize the relations between business and society, globalization, and technology.

These considerations are central to ESADE Business School's MBA program. ESADE has even coined a term that captures this new approach—'creactivism.' Key pillars of 'creativism' are the four Cs—critical thinking skills, collaborative leadership, creativity, and communication skills.

BusinessBecause caught up with Luis Vives, associate dean at Barcelona’s ESADE Business School, to find out more about their new approach to business education.

What is 'creactivism'?

We are living in an era of unprecedented change. This poses great challenges, but also creates incredible opportunities for those who know how to take advantage of the new context.

This is why we launched the creactivism initiative at ESADE. Creactivism is a new concept that combines creativity and activism. Creativity is what fuels big ideas and it is a critical driver for transformation. At the same time, you can learn from activists how to make things happen and make a lasting impact on society—while always acknowledging the implications of your actions for a wide range of stakeholders. 

At the ESADE MBA, we train future leaders who are capable of adapting to this new way of thinking. Leaders who can go beyond the status quo and apply this disruptive and creative leadership to make the future better.

Why is 'creativism' of special importance in today's business environment?

Radical innovations, the creation of new business models, and industry transformations force us to rethink our ideas and how we work as well as rethinking the best way to transform our organizations.

Creactivism is a new concept, a new attitude and mind-set. Create impact, innovate, and become a ‘creactivist’ or creative activist—lead and inspire others with a new way of thinking.

We believe the skills of a creactivist are critical in today’s business climate, and will be even more important in tomorrow’s environment. As Abraham Lincoln once said: ‘The best way to predict your future is to create it.'

How does ESADE Business School make sure its students are creactivists?

We pride ourselves on having a diverse cohort on the ESADE MBA. Diversity is a key ingredient for creativity. Beyond being creative, the leader of the future must also have the ability to work with others, fostering the creation of new business models and ecosystems.

At the ESADE MBA, we do not want to homogenize the students on our program. Rather we want them to embrace their differences, backgrounds, and origins by recombining them and creating something new.

Throughout the program, students explore their ideas and the skills they need to break the mold, move the parameters, and transform themselves and others. 

How will these creactivists reshape traditional business models?

Innovation is no longer a ‘could’; it is a ‘must’. A creactivist is someone who has the ability to rewrite the rules to build the future as they see it. Creactivists are visionaries for whom the world is a blank canvas on which they can design businesses for a better future.