On a sunny friday afternoon I find myself in a lively street in the center part of Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin. The Dutch musician Rik Spann and today’s interview partner Stephen Nachmanovitch are at my side. Stephen came here to give one of his popular improvisation workshops. Rik and I are two of the participants. None of us know that area of Berlin so we decide to go to an Italian restaurant just a few steps away; artists need to eat as well.
Robert D. Austin is an innovation and technology management researcher and professor of Innovation and Information Technology at Ivey Business School in Canada. Together with dramaturg and emeritus professor of theatre Lee Devin he examines business innovation through the lens of art practice. Their two books Artful Making and The Soul of Design explore the striking structural similarities between theatre artistry and production and today’s business projects. For Austin, there is no doubt artistic practices are highly relevant in today’s’ business environment, and particularly “in developed economies because communication and transportation networks have become so usable and inexpensive that it devalues cost-leadership approaches to business.
In our first part of this Bricolage feature, we explored Bricolage as a potential answer to tackle problems, and to enhance creativity through improvisation, playfulness, and experiments. However, not all the problems are easily resolvable, and often the solutions are more harmful than the actual issue. In his interview with AoA , artist Bernard Pras, explains that it is difficult to anticipate the malicious effect of innovation: “we create new products as we need it, and it is often fantastic, but there is always a negative side that one could – or not – anticipate, and sometimes the malicious side takes on the initial magic of the invention.”
By taking a look at environmental issues on our starship earth and the research for new energy sources, a clear example lies in the manufacture of photovoltaic panels.
‘Pour explorer le champ des possibles, le bricolage est la méthode la plus efficace’ (‘To explore the scope of possibilities, bricolage is the most efficient method’)
Yes, the world became extremely complex and it is fair to admit that we engage with problems and new challenges on a daily basis – on a personal and societal level. We strive to find new solutions most of the time by innovating.
Eric Schmidt, former CEO and now Executive Chairman at Google, once put it this way: “Let’s be clear about what we are claiming: As business becomes more dependent on knowledge to create value, work becomes more like art. In the future, managers who understand how artists work will have an advantage over those who don’t. Philippe Rixhon, a leader at the junction of arts, business and technology, also comments that “many business sectors would benefit from adopting some of the theatre world’s basic creation practices related to innovation leadership.