Inspiring Creativity at Boise State


Nancy Napier, professor and executive director of the Centre for Creativity, and Innovation, talks about a ha moments.

By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson
Photography by Copper Chadwick

An “aha moment” is a sudden realization or insight, often accompanied by joy or satisfaction. Nancy K. Napier, Ph.D., Executive Director, Centre for Creativity and Innovation, and Professor, Strategy and International Business at Boise State University defines it as “a moment of sudden awareness.” The Centre for Creativity and Innovation at BSU is designed to foster more “aha moments.”

In 2004, the College of Business and Economics held the region’s first Creative Economy Workshop, sponsored by INEEL/Argonne National Labs (now Battelle). The two-day workshop, attended by over 75 leaders from the arts, business, government, and education, brought speakers from around the world and the United States. “That was the spark for research, teaching, and outreach efforts related to creativity and the beginning of the idea for a Centre, which was formalized in 2006,” Napier said.
I interviewed Napier about the Centre and its impact in our community.

Green Belt Magazine (GB): What do you want the Boise community to know about Centre for Creativity and Innovation?

Nancy Napier (NN): The Centre for Creativity and Innovation sparks “aha moments” for people and organizations by being a catalyst for creative collaboration in the Treasure Valley. We do this in three ways:
1. Research: Our primary mission is to create new knowledge and understanding about the power of creativity and innovation to unleash potential–in individuals, in organizations and in entire communities.
2. Community Engagement: We also work with thought leaders and learning organizations who want to achieve high performance and use creativity to produce results.
3. Teaching: We work with students at Boise State University, primarily in the College of Business and Economics but increasingly from other areas and disciplines as well, to build creativity and innovation skills and mindsets and inspire future generations of community leaders.

GB: What do you want as an outcome of Centre for Creativity and Innovation? / What signifies success for CCI?

NN: Our goal is to help the region become recognized as one filled with highly creative, high performing individuals, organizations, and communities. If we can spark creative collaboration and innovative mindsets and create new academic and practitioner knowledge about the hows and whys of creativity and innovation, then we’re fulfilling the mission we’ve set for ourselves.

GB: How can a member of the Boise community get involved with CCI?

NN: We know that “aha moments” occur when creative ideas collide. So we try to generate creativity in unexpected ways by encouraging collaboration across what might appear to be wildly diverse organizations and people. Through our multi-sector ‘learning, our Creative Edge Workshop Series, Design Thinking Projects for companies, Design Thinking classes for BSU students, and other relentless learners, customized presentations and training on Aha Learning Moments and other topics for Treasure Valley organizations, and the books we publish through our in-house publishing entity, CCI Press, we offer a variety of activities to help spark “aha moments.”

For more info about Nancy Napier and the Centre for Creativity and Innovation: