Most people think of capital as money to be invested, but Finance Professor John Groth researches another kind of capital — human capital and the largely untapped creativity of people.

Groth’s latest research paper, “Creativity and Human Capital: International Implications,” explores the human and economic effects of exploiting people’s creativity or letting it expire unnoticed. He presented the paper at the annual International Business and Economic Conference in December.

“When you consider the role of ideas in human history, you realize that creativity is a stronger force than any army in shaping people’s lives,” says Groth. “And today, with a broader definition of creativity, increasing human capital demands more opportunities.”

Groth’s broader definition of creativity expands the range of creative events beyond the inventor in his laboratory or the painter in her studio, to encompass the ingenious ways ordinary people deal with their lives.

“As educators, we need to find ways to convince business leaders and managers to take advantage of the potential contributions brought about by the wider distribution of creative talents and the real diversity of human capital,” Groth says. “I want students, in particular, to come away with the idea of using each person’s individual strengths as opportunities to advance projects important not only to company profits, but to the well-being of society as a whole.”