CityU seminar looks at doing business during an economic downturn

Scarlett Leung

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What are the best strategies for businesses to survive or even thrive during an economic downturn, without resorting to layoffs and downsizing? A seminar focusing on creativity and innovation in global business, organised by City University of Hong Kong (CityU) and sponsored by the Columbia Business School, US, was held on 19 December to address this question.

“Through this seminar we hope to engage global-minded executives and professionals in an insightful dialogue and promote novel ideas and practices for advancing global business management,” said Chair Professor Leung Kwok, Head of the Department of Management at CityU. “As a dynamic and growing University, we strive to build partnerships with leading institutions from around the world. Our collaboration with the Columbia Business School illustrates our business education strength,” he added.

Speakers at the breakfast seminar included distinguished representatives from the world’s leading universities: Dr Mary Yoko Brannen, Visiting Professor of Strategy and Management INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France, Spansion Chair of Multicultural Integration, Lucas Graduate School of Business, San José State University, US; Dr C. Y. Chiu, Professor, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, US; Professor Adam Galinsky, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, US; Mr Paul Pei, Executive Director, Sales and Marketing, Ocean Park Corporation; Dr Paul Steven Hempel, Associate Professor, Department of Management, CityU; and Dr Michael Morris, Chavkin-Chang Professor of Leadership, Columbia University, US.

Creativity was a group responsibility, Dr Hempel emphasised.. “Rather than being the product of a single individual, creativity often occurs as the result of a concerted effort by members of the team. The composition of the team often has a critical effect on overall creativity but is not sufficient to guarantee creative success. It is also necessary to adopt appropriate and proper processes, so that teams develop their full creative potential,” he added.

Dr Morris presented his psychological research on the keys to innovative thinking and how it was linked to business. He discussed reasons why many firms seek creative solutions from teams rather than individuals.

Mr Pei shared the story of how Ocean Park made use of creative ideas to defy the odds in achieving five successive years of record-breaking attendances, revenue and profit. He also showed how Ocean Park built up local loyalty, developed new markets, renewed its promotion events, engaged its staff and built upon their core competencies to become a Hong Kong tourist icon with a unique product that connects its guests with nature.

The often-inspirational seminar attracted a full house, signifying the timeliness of the topic. Participants comprised local and overseas academia, senior representatives from a broad spectrum of businesses and students from tertiary institutions.


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