Imperial College London

Creative thinking programme achieves milestone of enrolling 400,000 learners


Professor Peter Childs standing in front of an illustrated mind map

Professor Peter Childs, the creator of 'Creative Thinking – Techniques and Tools for Success'

The longstanding 'Creative Thinking' online specialisation is a runaway success, as its creator readies new content for eager global learners.

Launched in 2018, the MOOC (massively open online course) has been developed and refined by Imperial on the digital education platforms, Coursera and EdX.

The world is full of challenges and opportunities – creativity offers potential to tackle these with bright new ideas. Professor Peter Childs Professor, Dyson School of Design Engineering and Co-Director of the Energy Futures Lab

Over that timeframe anyone with an internet connection has been able to learn from some of the world’s top researchers and practitioners in creative thinking.

Both the previous and new series of courses are fully accessible across the world and support learners in developing their creative thinking skills and developing ideas quickly and at scale. The programme consists of three bespoke courses covering creative thinking and brainstorming methods, systematic creative thinking, advanced creative thinking.

Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost of Imperial College London, said: “Creativity is key to transforming many facets of our daily lives from challenging to enjoyable. During a time of great change in education, Imperial experts have reached hundreds of thousands of learners across the world through digital programmes. This exciting curriculum has clearly resonated with a large audience.”

Why is the course on offer?

The enrolment milestone comes about as creative thinking takes an increasingly prominent role in daily lives, both in practice and via media coverage. Prior to the pandemic, the Creative Industries contributed £116bn to the UK economy in 2019, growing twice as fast between 2011 and 2019 than the rate of the UK economy as a whole and accounted for 2.3 million jobs.

Self-employment accounts for 32% of Creative Industry employment in the UK and around 300,000, or over one in eight UK businesses (11.8%) in 2019 are part of the Creative Industries.

Professor Peter Childs, Co-Director of the Energy Futures Lab and creator of the MOOC, underlines the importance of Imperial offering digital learning opportunities: “The world is full of challenges and opportunities – creativity offers potential to tackle these with bright new ideas.

"We all need ideas, preferably good ideas that we can build on. Creativity is a resource – we are all creative and have scope to be more generative and effective in our activities. Our understanding of creativity has increased in leaps and bounds, with wonderful insights from psychology, neuro-science, and computing science."

Who is the course intended for?

As over 400,000 learners have already enrolled on the specialisation,  interest in creative thinking is clearly at record levels among a range of learners.

The teaching team would particularly welcome enrolments from female students and those residing in North America and Africa, who are currently under-represented as part of the student cohort for previous versions of the specialisation.

Imperial's leadership in creative thinking

Students’ expectations of their educational experience are changing, and institutions such as Imperial are transforming the way they teach to match this. Through its Learning & Teaching Strategy, Imperial continues to harness and create new learning tools to allow teachers to approach their work in new ways.

Helen McKenna, Head of the College’s Interdisciplinary EdTech Lab, said: “Creative thinking is the perfect subject matter for our open collaboration with third-party education platforms. Its applications are limitless, not just within science, engineering, medicine, and business, but beyond."

Find out more

If you are interested in enrolling in the 'Creative Thinking' specialisation, please visit Coursera online prospectus.

Online education platform Coursera has partnered with 220 of the world’s top universities and industry leaders, and is inspiring 50 million registered learners around the world to achieve their career, educational, and personal goals.


Murray MacKay

Murray MacKay
Communications Division


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