Artists teaching business leaders to be innovative

The stereotype of the tortured, starving artist who is disconnected from all reality is still alive and kicking, which is a huge reason why this project is such a proponent for artists who act as community organizers and activists.  

And so, I always do a little fist pump and jig when artists are appreciated for their saavy in mainstream forums.   Behavioral economist and best-selling author Dan Ariely has been actively collaborating with artists and requesting their feedback on his research for the past year.  Dozens of fantastic books have been published recently about the importance of creative thinking in business.  My favorites are:

  1. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
  2. Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
  3. A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink
  4. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau

Recently, a friend sent me a link to an article published on CNN Money entitled “What entrepreneurs can learn from artists,” which brought a smile to my face, as both an entrepreneur and an artist.  Tim Leberecht points out the growing respect for artistic problem-solving:

Indeed, the “art” of business has become more important as the “science” grows ubiquitous. As Big Data and sophisticated analytical tools allow us to make our processes more efficient, intuition and creativity are fast becoming the only differentiating factors among competitors. Like any “soft asset,” these qualities cannot be exploited, only explored. And like artists, innovators must cultivate creative habits to see the world afresh and create something new.

Although some of the points, such as “Artists are like children” and “Artists are ‘neophiles'” veer toward being counterproductive, I could not agree more with the following:

2. Artists are humanists. They are experts of the “human condition” and observe human desires, needs, emotions, and behavior with a sharp, discerning eye and a high degree of empathy. They can feel with and for others, which should be every innovator’s distinct strength as well.


7. Artists are holistic, interdisciplinary thinkers. Artists can connect dots and take things out of their original context. Likewise, innovators contextualize and re-contextualize, mash up and remix, and embrace new insights and ideas that lead to unexpected, unlikely, and often serendipitous conclusions.

Read more at CNNMoney (originally from TheMIX).

I highly recommend artists, scientists, bankers, lawyers, teachers, farmers, and convenience store workers read more about the value the arts bring to all aspects of our economy and society in all the links above.

Drawing by Hugh MacLeod at “Gaping Void”

Do you have an awesome story about artists being stellar leaders, collaborators, and follow-through-ers?  Share below!


2 responses to “Artists teaching business leaders to be innovative

  1. Pingback: The Big Questions « 13/13/13 Sketchbook Project·

  2. Pingback: Idea Sex « 13/13/13 Sketchbook Project·

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