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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsIn this part I will introduce the PIPE Model that will guide the learning in this course. We all know that innovation is very important to China now but innovation is a broad term. Innovation is related to many different concepts such as invention, creativity, ideas, new products, discovery, technology, entrepreneurship, and so on. Where shall we start to learn then? The best place is to start with creative thinking. What is creative thinking? Let me use the Sunburst Model to illustrate what is creative thinking. Assume this circle stands for conventional or ordinary thinking, which means everyone is likely to understand it.

Skip to 1 minute and 6 secondsIf a person can think of ideas beyond the circle, like the sun rays radiating out divergently, then that is called creative thinking. The idea is called a creative idea. There are two important features of this creative thinking. And the first is it’s flexible, changing easily to different directions. The second is that creative thinking is intuitive, [which] means without much logical analysis. And how can we train for creative thinking? There is a very famous game for training for creative thinking. That is called “The purposes of a glass”, which asks students to think of other purposes of a glass other than drinking water. The training has been used in many universities around the world.

Skip to 2 minutes and 17 secondsAnd this game has been used in universities in Hong Kong and mainland China as well. It was found that it is very easy for Chinese students to find many other purposes of a glass as well as many purposes for other items. Let us look at two examples. When people in China eat, they usually use a pair of chopsticks, and in very flexible ways for many purposes. Chopsticks can be used to eat noodles, rice, bread, vegetables, beef, peanuts, soup and porridge, and so on. They can be used to eat food, cut food, and mix food. A pair of chopsticks can even be used as a cooking tool. Take the Chinese kitchen knife or a cleaver as another example.

Skip to 3 minutes and 26 secondsIt does not really need any real training; for thousands of years, Chinese people have used this kitchen knife for hundreds of different purposes. This kitchen knife can be used to change any food into any shape, it is still like this now in many places in China! You can imagine how flexibly people in China use other tools. According to research by Hall (1976), Chinese people are very flexible and intuitive. In fact, China is ranked No.1 in terms of intuitive thinking and behavior, he says. If this is true, Chinese thinking seems to be close to creative thinking, even without training.

Skip to 4 minutes and 24 secondsHowever, why is China ranked only 30 in terms of innovation capability now even if people are quite flexible and intuitive, which seems pretty close to creative thinking? In summary from an education perspective, a systematic and cross-disciplinary approach is missing. Flexible thinking is necessary but is not enough. It helps in generating new ideas but an idea is not a product yet. If you want to turn an idea into a product and then a business, you need a systematic and cross-disciplinary model. In this course, we will use the PIPE Model which systematically links discovery, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. PIPE stands for Problem, Idea, Product and Enterprise, which are the expected outcomes from this course.

Skip to 5 minutes and 37 secondsWe will go through the PIPE Model step by step in the coming four weeks with a consideration of pertinent Chinese culture elements. Thank you for watching.

China, intuition, creativity, and the PIPE Model

What role does intuition play in creativity in a culture such as China?

According to Dr. Edward Hall, a cultural anthropologist and intercultural communication expert, China is ranked first in terms of intuitive thinking and behavior (1976). On the one hand, we can infer from this that creative thinking occurs normally among people in China even without training. However, there is a lack of evidence of innovation in China in the past hundred years or so. Today, China is ranked only 30th in terms of innovation capability.

From an education perspective, a systematic and cross-disciplinary approach is missing. Flexible thinking is necessary but by itself is not enough. It helps in generating new ideas but an idea is not yet a product. If you want to turn an idea into a product and then a business, you need a systematic and cross-disciplinary model.

In this course, we will use the PIPE Model which systematically links discovery, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The PIPE Model has been developed based on research and teaching by Dr. Hongyi Sun over a span of 10 years. PIPE stands for Problem, Idea, Product, and Enterprise. As an outcome of this course, you will be able to apply the PIPE Model.

Reference:
Hall, E.T. (1976). Beyond Culture. New York: Anchor Press.
Sun, H. Y. (2012) “The PIPE Model for Teaching Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship”, presented at the IEEE Teaching Assessment and Learning Excellence (TALE) Conference, 20-23 Aug. Hong Kong.

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This video is from the free online course:

Foundation of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in China

City University of Hong Kong

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