On November 14, the Drucker School’s Drucker Day returned to the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California for the first time in two years. (In 2014, it was held in Tokyo.) The day honors Peter Drucker, the school’s founder, and is a magnet for alumni and friends of the school, and always great for networking. I’ve written about my experiences there often, including in 2013, when I did a book signing for Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way. The theme this year was “The Creative Organization: Preparing & Managing Top Talent,” an extension of the 2013 theme, “The Creative Economy: Where Managers and Creatives Collaborate to Foster Innovation and Economic Value.”

Photo by Tom Zasadzinski

There was a sense of new beginnings and reinventions at the latest event, partially through the re-energizing of the school’s alumni, but also through the promise of the new academic programs based around the creative economy/organizations, and the opening remarks of the new Dean of the school, Tom Horan. The keynotes, both by alums of the Executive MBA program, added to the atmosphere of high energy: in the morning by Eugene Young, (EMBA ’11, President of Ryan Seacrest Productions); and in the afternoon by Tawni Cranz (EMBA ’11, Chief Talent Officer of Netflix). Young emphasized that failure and rejection are embedded in the day-to-day experience of creative organizations, and that there are no handy rulebooks for success, especially in television. Cranz explained that you have to be prepared to de-emphasize or even eliminate your core business strategy, as Netflix did in de-emphasizing physical discs and moving into streaming video and creating their own programs.

 

The panel discussions were also enlightening, with similar themes of creative destruction, ongoing prevalence of risk and the need for creative thinking, no matter what your industry or profession is.

 

Getting the opportunity to spend time in sunny, idyllic Claremont is always a gift. The day before the event I met with friends at The Drucker School, the Drucker Institute and elsewhere, some of whom I’ve known since my first visit in 2002, when I began work on Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life.

 

Managing and leading creative organizations is a space in which the Drucker School is poised to thrive. For one, they are in close proximity to Los Angeles, where so many creative organizations are based. They’ve been building capacity partly through alliances, especially CGU’s Center for Management in the Creative Industries; where the Drucker School has partnered with Sotheby’s Institute of Art, and CGU’s Getty Leadership Institute. More alliances are on the way.

 

 

In a crowded worldwide market for MBA and Executive MBA programs, the ongoing challenge for the Drucker School is how to differentiate itself and to add value to people’s lives in new and exciting ways. Yet isn’t that the challenge for each of us, as individuals and organizations?