Stimulating Creativity and Innovation through Education in Applied Sciences

Presentation of Prof. Dr. Ulrike Reisach at the Summer Palace Forum in Beijing, June 27/28, 2015

„Serving Society through Innovative Education and Creative Value - Talent Cultivation and Devel-opment for International Organizations” (邀请函) was the motto of the 2nd Summer Palace Forum of the University of International Relations, Beijing and the Marietta College, Ohio/USA on June 27/28, 2015 in Beijing for which HNU-Professor Dr. Ulrike Reisach was invited as a keynote speaker.

Prof. Xiaoxiong YI (Marietta Relationship Commissioner), Prof. Dr. Ulrike Reisach (HNU), Prof. Andy Zelleke (Harvard), Prof. Dr. Hui LIU (UIR)

On Saturday, June 27th, Prof. Reisach moderated a panel with contributions by Prof. Wei Dan of the University Macao, Kathleen Reddy-Smith (Marietta College) and Michael Milone, former VP of the US-Food producer Heinz, as well as the concluding discussion with the participants. Further presenters of the day were Dr. Joseph W. Bruno, president, Dr. Mark Miller and Gama Perucci of the Marietta College, Ohio/USA, Yoichi Maie of the Japanese Organization for Economic and Trade Relations JETRO, Han Shi from the Carnegie Tsinghua Center for Global Policy as well as Jiaojing Chen, HR Director of Volkswagen Group China in Beijing.

On Sunday, June 28th, Prof. Reisach presented the concept of research and teaching at German Universities of Applied Sciences. Based on her research on intercultural and didactical specifics of Germany and China, on critical ethical reflection and her book on Knowledge Transfer (published 2013), she explained how practical and innovative solution competency can be acquired and developed. Her main focus was on prospective entrepreneurial thinking, combined with multi-perspective critical reflection and stakeholder dialogue as a basis for constructive and responsible decision making. The next presenter was Prof. Andy Zelleke of Harvard University in Boston/USA, who explained the concept of field research of the Harvard School of Businesses' master classes. The crowning conclusion of the event was the concert of the symphony orchestra of the University of International Relations, which played interpretations of Chinese, European and American composers.

Summary and key messages of Prof. Reisach's speech

Reflecting on research from communication science and the psychology of decision making, Prof. Reisach discussed which methods and media are appropriate for teaching future managers. Reasons for cultural differences in communication and leadership styles were given as well as suggestions for mutual learning. Based on scientific research and many years of experience in leading international management positions, she revealed prerequisites for the stimulation of creativity that include an appropriate Corporate or Organizational Culture and HR Management. As a conclusion, she gave examples for how this is realized in Universities of Applied Sciences in Germany.

In order to deal with complex business, societal and technical challenges of today's business world, students need competencies for decision making. Employability on a managerial level does not mean fulfilling pre-defined and given tasks but rather entrepreneurial thinking, grasping opportunities and anticipating future developments and market needs. Based on an accurate analysis and an open discourse with the company's stakeholders, future managers need to be able and courageous to make responsible decisions with respect to the company's as well as the society's long-term well-being.

University curricula in applied management/business sciences need to go beyond the „how to“, and also comprise the „know why“. Only if students understand the influencing factors, their mutual interdependencies and the interests and backgrounds of various stakeholders, they will be able to make responsible decisions. Creative and interdisciplinary thinking has to be stimulated as well as sensitivity to the needs and concerns of others. The capability to analyze problems from different perspectives can be fostered through constructive discussions with stakeholders to find agreements and procedures which serve the company as well as the society. From the university lecturer this requires personal experience and engagement that go far beyond presenting text-book contents. Teaching applied sciences includes facilitating industry cooperation, supporting students in analyzing up-to date corporate challenges and case studies, encouraging them to elaborate suggestions for corporate strategies, and giving feedback on their scientific soundness and practical feasibility.

Prof. Dr. Ulrike Reisach 冉珊鹤  is a full professor at the Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences in Bavaria/ Germany since 2008 and head of the university's center of excellence in Corporate Communications. She received her Ph.D. in management science from Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich with the highest distinction and has completed the Corporate Advanced Management Program Asia/ Pacific of Siemens, Duke University and Babson College USA. For 20 years, she has held management positions in international communications and strategy development, most recently as Director of Siemens Corporate Communication and Government Affairs. Based on her experience in projects in China and in the USA, she has published 10 books and numerous scientific articles on international management and knowledge transfer.
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