In the business world, innovation is a prerequisite for progress. Launching today, the third essay in The pARTnership Movement essay series, Foster Critical Thinking, demonstrates how arts partnerships can help a company encourage critical thinking and thereby boost innovation among employees.
Some companies choose to spend more money on research and development to trigger innovation, but the 2014 Global Innovation 1000 survey from strategic consultants Strategy&, the global strategy consulting team at PwC, showed that R&D spending alone will not necessarily make a company innovative.
According to the 2008 Ready to Innovate report by The Conference Board, Americans for the Arts, and the American Association of School Administrators:
97% of U.S. business executives agree that creativity is becoming more important in the workplace.
85% of U.S. executives looking to hire creative people say they cannot find enough qualified applicants.
61% of U.S. executives say that employers have the responsibility to instill creativity in the workforce.
So how can companies encourage creativity among their employees in order to drive innovation?
Foster Critical Thinking features successful case studies from the Innovation Institute, which provides artist-led professional development programs for individuals and teams from various companies within Charlotte metro area and beyond, and Kohler Co. in Wisconsin.
Where the Innovation Institute seeks to reawaken creativity and innovation by bringing businesspeople into an artistic setting, Kohler takes a different approach and brings art into the workplace. The company partners with the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, an independent contemporary arts nonprofit organization, on an artist-in-residence program called Arts/Industry. The artists who participate in Arts/Industry use Kohler Co.’s industrial equipment and materials to produce their art—right alongside Kohler Co. associates building bathtubs, sinks, faucets, and other household fixtures. In 2011, Americans for the Arts was pleased to honor Kohler Co. with the BCA Hall of Fame Award for their engagement with the arts.
By learning from professional artists, employees can perhaps recognize the artistic value in their own work and realize that building a fine bathtub is not so far removed from building a sculpture, that writing a compelling report bears some kinship to writing a novel, that art and business are in fact interlinked on many levels.
Arts partnerships offer companies effective and cost-efficient methods of achieving critical business goals. The first essay in The pARTnership Movement essay series, Recruit and Retain Talent, shows how, by partnering with the arts, businesses can attract and retain the talented, motivated people they need in order to gain a competitive edge and outperform the competition. The second essay, Put Your Company in the Spotlight, explores how engaging with the arts can help a business build market share, enhance its brand, and reach new customers.
Do you know of a company that partnered with the arts to foster critical thinking? We want to hear from you! Tell us about it on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at pARTnership@artsusa.org.
Read more about how top businesses are partnering with the arts to foster critical thinking.
Learn more about The pARTnership Movement essay series.
Photo: Innovation Institute participants at McColl Center for Art + Innovation.