Center for Applied Imagination

Chase Hall 244
(716) 878-6223

The Center for Applied Imagination is an internationally recognized unit within Buffalo State. Faculty conduct research, teach, and work with a variety of groups and organizations to improve the understanding of creativity and creative problem-solving.

The history and development of the center are tied to the work of Alex F. Osborn, developer of the brainstorming technique and the creative problem solving (CPS) process. Osborn, director of the New York City-based advertising agency Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn, used his work to encourage innovative thinking among his associates and, later, among young people. His successor, Sidney J. Parnes (professor emeritus), along with former mathematics professor and computer scientist, Ruth Noller, founded the center at Buffalo State in 1967. The academic program is enhanced by the Alex F. Osborn Visiting Professorship, which has attracted to campus some of the most celebrated minds in creativity research to date.

The Center for Applied Imagination is known for its more than 50 years of research, development, and teaching in the field of creativity studies. Documentation of the program’s effectiveness shows a positive impact on students’ personal and professional growth. The educational program consists of courses that can lead to an undergraduate minor or a master of science degree or a graduate certificate in creativity and change leadership. Courses help students to become better thinkers and problem solvers and to work more effectively with groups. Skills developed in creativity and change leadership courses help improve performance in other classes and provide a competitive edge in the job market. Alumni work in business and industry, education (all levels), the social sciences, technology, and the arts. Companies or organizations interested in change or change management find creativity and change leadership skills to be particularly desirable. In fact, the World Economic Forum identified creativity as the third most important workplace skill for the 21st century.

In conjunction with Butler Library, the Creative Studies Special Collection is the world's largest collection of materials on creativity world and includes noncirculating print and nonprint resources: books, curricular materials, software programs, dissertations, research projects, and theses on creative thinking and its cultivation.