ICN Business School Professor Stephan Sonnenburg talks about creativity and the potential and immense power it holds for social and economic developments, he explores the question of how better use of creative potential for collaboration can be promoted and how Brain City Berlin offers the perfect backdrop for this.

Who are you and what is your profession?

My name is Stephan Sonnenburg and I am a professor at ICN Business School Paris-Nancy-Berlin. My research is mainly in the fields of co-creative branding, storytelling, team creativity and creativity training. Briefly, I am interested in topics around creativity between people.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on three projects:

  • The first one is about ATM which is an acronym for Art-Technology-Management. ICN Business School is an international leader in transdisciplinary teaching and research combining management with other disciplines. However, ICN wants to go one step further and embed even more artistic and technological processes in management education. Therefore, I and colleagues are working on new teaching and learning concepts.
  • The second project deals with brands, their competition and the question of whether it always has to be the case that brands are competitors facing each other. Isn’t it possible that brand rivalries are productive? I am sure this is possible, and brand rivalries can learn a lot from productive sports rivalries. Just think of Federer versus Nadal or El Clásico between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
  • The third project focuses on innovation workshops and how they can be more effective. Such workshops are mainly designed in such a way that they simply do not lead to creative solutions. Just one aspect worth considering: Can breaks be used more productively during a workshop?

→  More broadly speaking, I am working on how people can better use their creative potential together.

Which trend will influence your work the most?

I wouldn’t call it trend, but I am really interested in how people can work together in more creative ways. Creativity was, is and always will be the decisive resource for us to survive on this planet. Creativity is the engine of any kind of innovation and, ultimately, of social and economic developments.

What excites you most about your work?

That I am free to think and act. I can devote myself to topics that I really like. In addition, I have the opportunity to work with exciting people.

Who would you like to work with someday?

I don’t have a particular person in mind. I like to drift and meet new people. That is why I am happy to live and work in Brain City Berlin, a hotspot for creative and cool people.

What keeps you awake at night?

Circling around exciting thoughts keeps me awake. The catch is that my eyes are not happy about it in the morning 😊.

What makes Berlin interesting as a science location?

Berlin has a tremendous density of very different universities. In addition, it is special that Berlin attracts so many international scientists and companies. And even more: Where else does a French business school like ICN open a location abroad?

What is your part in this year’s 7th Berlin Science Week?

I will talk about “Instant Creativity – Kreativität auf Knopfdruck” on 8 November at the ICN Business School. Besides tips and tricks to increase your own creativity, the bigger part will be to activate creativity immediately. I will introduce two creative methods that everyone can easily apply for all kinds of problems and for different situations.

What do you like most about Berlin?

OMG, I can’t sum it up in one point. I think it’s the incredible diversity in Berlin. I’ve lived in Berlin since 1994. That year I started my studies at the Berlin University of the Arts. I don’t want to miss a single day, month or year that I had the chance to be in Berlin.

What are you currently reading?

I like to read cookbooks, precisely because the reading can be immediately implemented. Right now, I browse a lot in “Simple” by Ottolenghi.

How do you foster your creativity?

This is a funny question for someone who deals with creativity professionally. Personally, I need a change of location to be creative. I love the Alps because they clear my head for new things.

In the future, you would like to…

… climb higher mountains.

PS: What is the most delicious thing you ate this week?

White wine risotto with grilled eggplants. At home, I love the simple Italian cuisine with oriental touch.

Stephan Sonnenburg is a permanent professor at ICN Business School and has more than 20 years of experience in the field of branding, brand storytelling, team creativity, creativity training, idea development, innovation management and business transformation. He conducted the workshop “Instant Creativity – Kreativität auf Knopfdruck“, which took place on 08 NOV from 06.30 to 08.30pm at Berlin Science Week.