Like the process of generating and winning business, the process of making art is intimately linked with problem solving.
My intention in this blog post is to show how incorporating art studio practices such as painting and drawing in corporate training and development can help expand your business and motivate your staff.
I am certainly not suggesting that businesses would thrive if their staff could draw like Leonardo Da Vinci, nor do I think that companies would be better off with artists on staff. But it has been proven that painting and drawing can become valuable tools for enhancing the the growth of your business.
Simply put, every artist faces a fundamental question throughout their career: ‘How do I make art that communicates my ideas and feelings powerfully such that the viewer is moved to consider new possibilities?’
Rephrased and contextualised in a highly competitive corporate culture teeming with businesses that want to expand, the question then becomes, ‘How do I communicate the values and ideas of my business such that other people are excited about doing business with me?’
Understanding the principles of art-making can shine a light on previously unseen opportunities for business development and staff management and retention.
Processes of creation and interpretation; of selection and display; choice and resource allocation are as equally at home in both the art studio and the boardroom.
In my experience, organisations that make the link between making art and winning business are exploring how the talents of individuals can contribute to the team’s goals.
Here are 4 reasons why it makes sense to make art in your organisation:
1. Making art encourages experimentation and challenges fixed assumptions.
The process of making art allows for many points of view. In art, the same people, experiences and situations can be depicted and understood in multiple ways.
When your team looks at the same ‘problem’ from different perspectives, new approaches to engaging clients and securing business become apparent.
Making art gives expression to creative thinking and consideration of ideas outside the box. Art making processes open up new ways of approaching potential clients i.e. new ways of sharing the values and ideas of your company.
2. Making art allows your team to articulate their individual differences.
Client satisfaction and job completion are not just related to budget and time line. They are also connected with imagination, creative flair and innovation.
When your staff engages in making art together, personal preferences, individual styles and methods of self-expression become apparent for the whole group.
This process allows for a deep appreciation of individuals and their strengths within your team. Through painting and drawing, your staff gets a real sense of the impact of each of their actions on paper or canvas.
This process allows for a powerful insight to the impact of each action in the work place.
3. Making art constantly generates a sense of newness.
Firmly located in the present, painting and drawing is deeply connected to both the past and the future. Linking your team with a lineage of painting and drawing spanning several millennia, making art challenges them to articulate their understandings and experiences in new, inventive and relevant ways.
4. Making art calls your staff to identify new role models for leadership, values and points of difference.
Who are the business men and women that we look up to? Are they people who have made money quickly? Provided a valuable service in a time of need? People who have invested well? Enhanced the quality of life? All of the above?
Thankfully Van Gogh did not stop painting just because there was no market for his work. Today he is arguably one of the world’s favourite painters. Fortunately Picasso did not wait for a government grant before he invented cubism.
A rich appreciation of what artists do will expand your staff’s understanding of their own personal drive and what it will take to bring your company vision to fruition.
Art has been fundamental to the experience of being human for millions of years. It is an exciting and rich domain from which the business community can learn much about itself.
The process of making art is a unique opportunity to engage with the world of colour and design, of line and shape to explore with your team, the journey from insight into action.
Dr David Sequeira is the founder of Art Business – an organisation providing sessions in art making designed for businesses committed to taking their management teams out of the realm of their ordinary experiences with workshops encouraging participants to enter into the thrill of creativity.