Art-based processes have the potential to make a unique contribution to problem solving in many areas and on various levels–in combination with other approaches–to re-establish a desperately needed balance. We believe such an approach can help in three major areas:
Challenges in a global society of individual people: making progress with wicked problems. Many challenges in the world are extremely complex and referred to as wicked problems. Success in addressing them as a global society is more likely when an artistic mindset and processes are applied. This is particularly relevant in the world of business and the economy. Business has always been important as a means to an end. Today, however, it seems to be the dominant force and sole purpose in life for too many. However, many leading thinkers believe for the economy to not create more crises and instability, a new approach is required. Fresh approaches and alternative concepts are more likely to become new norms when we bring beauty and meaning into business.
Future of organizations and leadership. The term business in its original, epistemological sense means to be in good company for mutual benefit. To survive, organizations need to evolve “back” to this original idea, as many of the key themes that define the future of organizations and their leadership are dependent on cross-disciplinary and cross-company cooperation, constant innovation and the balancing of multiple forces, needs, demands and targets. Much of what this evolution requires can be found in the arts. Organizations as a whole and leadership as a core activity in managing organizations need to support this change by creating safe environments where faith in people is more important than controlling them, where teams are built on trust so that collaboration can flourish, and where leaders coach their people as the future is emerging.
Artful living. People who spend more time with art and/or apply an artistic attitude establish multiple focuses, perspectives and viewpoints. The German word allgemeinwissen, or the French culture générale that already carry the idea of culture within and that both mean “broad knowledge,” are good synonyms for this. It is good to broaden one’s skill set and expertise towards what is demanded today, but it also offers an alternative to the dominant idea of a linear career and restricted life that comes with it. In the future, it is more likely that people will have multiple careers or occupations; therefore personally exploring one or many art genres is good for a fulfilled life and might well lead to a more significant perception change when it comes to beliefs and attitudes towards what really matters. At the same time, engaging with individuals from various disciplines helps to create a more diverse and thus robust people network similar to what is known as the “artistic community” that supports, feeds, and nourishes but also questions, critiques, and challenges the person.
Picture Source: New Old Stock; Vintage Photos from the Public Archives