July 22, 2007

The Art of Business through the Business of Art

Required reading alert: Business Week’s blogs tend to be of superb quality, but if you don’t have space for much else in your overstuffed reader at least wiggle Bruce Nussbaum’s column into your RSS. This from his “CEO’s must be designers not just hire them“..

the very old and very boring question is whether or not designers and their teachers have ended their distaste for commerce and business culture. I have nothing to say about this except that this debate about art and commerce is so last century. If you are even discussing the issue, you are way behind. If you haven’t fully integrated your design, engineering, business and marketing students and faculty into teams on a regular and systemic basis, you are behind.
There are two great barriers to innovation and design in the world today. Ignorant CEOs and ignorant designers. Both groups are well-intentioned and well-dressed—in their own ways—but both can be pretty dangerous characters.

I read that and cheered because I popped up a quick blog: Business Acumen for Artists and some online PR in support of a superb course that bridges the divide. The program will be run by the GSB’s visionary Executive Education director, Elaine Rumboll and all proceeds of the 13 week course go to strengthening the Observatory Community Centre. We’ve reached the point where we can’t afford to be lopsided in using our brains. Operating from both hemispheres is imperative to future success. Dan Pink’s “Whole New Mind” is a worthwhile read if you haven’t picked it up yet. Business leaders need to be visionaries and creative problem-solvers, and artists to be balanced with practical administrative skills for success.

Dostoyevsky once said:

Beauty will save the World

Coming from a Russian, the guarantee is in that he wasn’t referring merely to eye-candy fluffy Paris Hilton-like phenomena! There is substance to style, striking the strategic path through form and function. Great design, real beauty, is often about discerning the simple at the heart of complexity. Simple, not barren.

Paradoxically the only way to a new and more elegant solution/evolution tends to be by way of apparent chaos. Play in Photoshop, grab a box of crayons & giant paper for strategy meetings, pop into an art gallery at lunch, get inspired by Flickr to take more interesting shots, sling a fresh theme on your blog if you have one. Enabling your design eye through practice, developing visual literacy, will open up a visionary capacity that will prove a very handy skill as times get increasingly chaotic and messy.

PS. I heartily recommend the Gaping Void primer on Creativity >> go NOW.

July 22, 2007