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New Lessons in Familiar Packaging: Organizational Processes in Creative Enterprises

By Tom Wall

It’s something completely new wrapped in something familiar. In so many ways, Pablo Boczkowski’s Organizational Processes in Creative Enterprises course was unlike anything I had ever experienced in the classroom before. While I knew nothing about the three lenses approach to analyzing companies, heuristics and decision-making biases, or the pros and cons of variable compensation before taking this course, Pablo was able to explain these high-level concepts to my cohort and I, and put them in contexts that would be recognizable and relatable to us through real-world case studies involving companies and brands we had all likely encountered at one point in our lives.

To help us better understand the concept of the strategic design lens, for instance, Pablo took us through the origin story of Disney’s The Lion King, a film the entire class could recognize from the first five seconds of the opening scene (which he played for us in class to begin the lecture). Where before we had all only seen a beloved bit of childhood nostalgia, we now saw a perfect anecdotal example of an organization’s alignment structure being better designed for cross-functional success. He took us through a fated expedition to summit Mount Everest in which a majority of climbers met an untimely end. With Pablo’s help, we were able to identify the various decision-making biases that led each party member to their eventual fate. We were shown how Yahoo! incentivized its workers through a revamped company culture, and not just through monetary rewards. Each lesson’s new concept was gift-wrapped for us in paper emblazoned with a familiar company’s logo.  

Pablo’s method for examination and evaluation is something I came to greatly appreciate. At first, the specter of only two in-class exams determining a majority of our course grade was something that intimidated me. I have never tested well, and historically have done better by a full letter grade or more on take-home projects and papers than on in-class exams. But, Pablo explained to us that the exams were simply a different way for us to examine our case studies – something we had been doing all quarter – helping to ease us into the unknown through the familiar.

I’ll be able to take the material I learned in Pablo’s class with me and use in just about any professional situation I may find myself in the years to come. Sprinkled throughout his lessons and case studies were nuggets of real-world advice: how to network, industries in which to have success, tips for creating and cultivating a professional online presence. These are acquired skills that will stick with me well after graduation. I really appreciated this aspect of his class – it showed me that he truly cares not just about how we do in his class, but how we’ll do in our lives beyond the lecture hall.

Interested in how our curriculum prepares students for the Creative Industries? Learn more here!

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