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Business Leaders Do Have A Role in Preserving Arts and Culture

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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In the article “Why Business Leaders Should Support Culture and the Arts”, the author reminds us that the early art makers of the Renaissance were patron-supported.

 

Applying that historical practice to current times, he offers, “As a business leader, being a patron then is not only good for the arts, it’s patriotic. In fact, it’s arguably the best investment you can make.”

 

The author, James G. Brooks Jr., the founder and CEO of GlassView, smartly imparts these two factors in business leaders’ roles in preserving national arts and culture:

 

  

 

Culture is a potent source of international influence.

The art created says much about society’s culture and we often associate a national identity with these contributions to the cultural landscape.

 

It is critical that society, business leaders included, encourages art that reflects themes surrounding the environment, health and wellness, education, inclusion, heritage, and yes, even fun food.

 

The arts are where the next generation will hone critical thinking skills.

Unique and creative interplay enhances problem solving, teamwork, and inventiveness, helping to increase critical thinking skills. Whether applied to the next generation or the current workforce, these skills go hand-in-hand with advancing community and business goals.

 

Our pARTnership Movement essay “Foster Critical Thinking” contains deeper insight into how businesses partnering with the arts can help employees stimulate critical thinking.

 

To share #ArtsandBiz stories, send an email to Jessica Gaines at jgaines@artsusa.org

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Elevate the Work and the Walls

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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When a company wants to say thanks and show appreciation to its employees, many companies consider office art competitions, corporate art collections, or staff-curated “The Best of Instagram” galleries for their break room. (Like 2016 BCA 10 winner Dealer.com’s employee Instagram wall above.)

 

Another way for a company to show that it cares and put creativity at the forefront of the work environment is by including art and creativity in the office design. Sounds easy! Let’s dive into some imaginative and inspired office looks:

 

 

Boldness and Distinction

Making a statement that sets a 

tone for the rest of the office

and work experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Courtesy Katz Interiors

 

 

Flexibility - Create areas that serve dual purposes (meeting areas or lounges) and by using less desks, can transition to spaces for future employees, contractors, interns, and more. Also, standing desks are begging to make your employees better thinkers!

 

 

Photo: Jasper Sandid

 

 

Greenery - Sometimes office creativity isn’t about crazy carpets and bright paint. Adding plant life as décor or even a living garden wall can amp up the employee engagement opportunities.

 

 

 

Photo: Franciso Nogueira

 

Sometimes office enhancements are as simple as unique and better lighting or hiring local artists to paint colorful murals. Anyone of these fresh looks are great ways to get employees and leadership in touch beyond the work. Employing artistic elements to establish an exceptional corporate culture and identity is a great way to elevate the work and the walls.

 

Top Photo: 2016 BCA 10 winner Dealer.com’s employee Instagram wall

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Two Institutions’ Approach to Reawakening Inventiveness

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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Two Institutions’ Approach to Reawakening Inventiveness

NUvention: Arts

A course offered by Northwestern University’s Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the McCormick School of Engineering in partnership with the School of Communications MS in Leadership for Creative Enterprises program.

 

NUvention: Arts uses lectures, case studies and guest speakers to give students a first-hand look at what it takes to start a creative arts company in an age of digital disruption. Culminates in a team project that asks students to create and pitch an arts-minded business idea.

 

With digital technology changing the interaction with and consumption of the arts, and with entrepreneurship on the rise, this course is giving students the ability to develop successful businesses in which an artistic component is the helm.

 

Theatre student, Elizabeth Hunter, who used the course to re-work her approach to her educational video game on Shakespeare’s Macbeth titled, Something Wicked, says “It was super valuable for me to be in an environment where the goal is not deconstruction, but construction.” Hunter worked alongside MBA and other masters-level students in the course, being tasked with creating, rather than critiquing.

 

Ahren Alexander knew early on in his Northwestern career that he was interested in entrepreneurship.  The engineering major also had a keen interest in music. “We Skyped in with Beyonce’s manager, the CEO of Pandora, the lead singer of Train. It was awesome,” Alexander said. “There was also an opportunity to chat with entrepreneurs in the area, around Chicago. It was just phenomenal. That’s something I think is extremely important with entrepreneurship – being able to make those kinds of relationships.”

 

 

Innovation Institute

An artist-led professional development program at the contemporary art center and urban artist residency program McColl Center for Art + Innovation.

 

The Innovation Institute has a professional facilitator with a background in organizational coaching and creative development join an artist to lead participants, business leaders, in exercises around unlocking creativity, encouraging risk-taking, and stimulating imaginative thinking. The sessions begin with the artist talking about his or her work and creative process. The artists then lead the participants through a series of experiences where they are making, sharing, presenting, critiquing and discussing art.

 

This pushes participants outside their comfort zone. “By having them participate in the creative process, they gain a visceral understanding of the fact that for every piece of art they see on the wall of a gallery, there are probably 40 other pieces that were failures that nobody will ever see,” says artist and program instructor Susan Harbage Page.

 

Fabi Preslar, president at SPARK Publications, a design firm specializing in custom-published books, magazines, and catalogs, attended the Innovation Institute. In the months before she attended, she had been feeling burnt out. “Just to hear how these artists find inspiration in their everyday experiences helped reawaken my creativity,” says Preslar. With her new perspective, she was able to make

the bold decisions needed to reinvigorate her business. Her company’s revenue jumped 118 percent in the year after her graduation and then rose another 19 percent the following year.

 

Bob Hambright, Division President at Centex Construction, sent his executive team to the institute. One of the Centex executives ended up coming back with an idea for a bold new HR model for how the company should hire, retain, and develop its people. “To me, the Innovation Institute ended up being a good way to stretch people’s minds. I think that spending time with right-brained artists and participating in these art activities helped them appreciate people with different skills from their own. Their time at the Institute helped them appreciate the importance of creativity in finding the best business solutions.”

 

More about the institute in the pARTnership Movement essay on fostering critical thinking.

 

 

Related

Valuable and Unique Essays on Business and Arts pARTnerships

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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All across the country, today’s most innovative businesses are using the arts to help them meet some of their most difficult and vital objectives. Americans for the Arts is proud to announce the complete pARTnership Movement essay series. These eight essays, with case studies that profile successful business-arts relationships, illustrate one of the 8 reasons businesses partner with the arts and are available here on The pARTnership Movement website. Click on a thumbnail above to download each essay.

 

Recruit and Retain Talent

Make your community – and your company – more attractive to current and future employees by partnering with arts organizations to create a vibrant cultural scene.

 

Put Your Company in the Spotlight

Build your market share, enhance your brand, and reach new customers by partnering with the arts to put your business in the spotlight.

 

Advance Corporate Objectives & Strategies

Use the arts to communicate important messages to customers, employees, and other stakeholders.

 

Foster Critical Thinking

Help employees stimulate the critical thinking needed to advance business goals by partnering with the arts.

 

Engage Your Employees

Use arts partnerships to inspire and engage employees so that they are able to achieve their full potential.

 

Embrace Diversity & Team Building

Facilitate the creation of a strong corporate culture that fosters creativity while providing opportunities for employees to strengthen interdepartmental relationships, exchange ideas and broaden their networks.

 

Say Thanks

Inspire your employees by providing access to arts experiences that show your appreciation for their contributions.

 

Contribute to the Economy & Quality of Life

The arts create jobs, spur urban renewal, attract new businesses, generate tourism revenue, and foster an environment that appeals to a skilled and educated workforce. By partnering with arts organizations, you can strengthen the health and vitality of our neighborhoods, cities, states, and nation.

 

 

For more information or to share your arts and business partnerships with Americans for the Arts pARTnership Movement, contact BCA Coordinator Jessica Gaines at  bca@artsusa.org.  

Related

Planning a Meeting? Don’t forget the Art!

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Planning a Meeting? Don’t forget the Art!

Expectations are changing in the world of corporate meetings. Nearly two-thirds of the meeting planners polled in Successful Meetings’ 2016 Trends Survey said the ‘need to create a compelling meeting experience for attendees’ is now key to creating effective meetings in 2016.

 

According to Mark Cooper, CEO of the International Association of Conference Centers, “a compelling media experience” might mean a teambuilding exercise or other experiential learning experience, or an opportunity to volunteer in the host community. In light of this trend, many hotels and conference centers throughout the United States are curating art experiences for meeting attendees—often in partnership with local artists or museums—that provide exposure to the city’s unique culture.

 

For example, according to an article on SuccessfulMeetings.com, the Westin Cleveland Downtown’s art collection now features pieces curated by local artists that evokes the Cuyahoga River and incorporates tree branches reclaimed from the construction of the Cleveland Innerbelt Bridge. “Our art collection enhances our guests’ overall experience by showcasing exceptional pieces that provide an intimate look and immediate understanding of the community they’re visiting,” says Karen Troyer, director of sales and marketing for Westin Cleveland.

 

Here are five other great examples:

 

  • Event planners Shackman and Associates New York organizes events for meeting attendees that challenge them to tap into their own creativity at local art studios.
  • The Hilton Anatole in Dallas offers a curated “art dine-around,” which pairs the hotel’s art pieces with food and beverage items from their country of origin, as well as an art scavenger hunt.
  • The Conrad Indianapolis offers guided tours of its art collection and often invites the artist to present his or her work to the group. At a recent Young Presidents’ Organization meeting, the hotel’s culinary team created a menu inspired by the art in the group’s meeting spaces.
  • Cleveland’s The Metropolitan at The 9 features an art studio and rotating gallery as part of its new Artist in Residency program.
  • Destination marketing company Alaska Destination Specialists Inc. recruits native Alaskan artists to offer working craft tables or booths to showcase sewing, beading, and carving skills.

 

“Absolutely, return on investment is critical,” says Carlson Wagonlit Travel Meetings & Events VP Cindy Fisher, “but so is ensuring that it’s an impactful event experience for those attendees.”

 

Have you incorporated the arts into your corporate meetings or attended a meeting that featured an art experience? We want to hear from you! Tell us about it on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at partnership@artsusa.org.

 

Photo credit: The Westin Hotel in Cleveland by LAND studio. Photo by Ricky Rhodes.

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BuzzFeed’s 14 Ways Doing Theater As A Kid Can Help You As An Adult

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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BuzzFeed’s 14 Ways Doing Theater As A Kid Can Help You As An Adult

Numerous business leaders have attributed their success in business to their arts education background. You can find many of their stories on pARTnershipMovement.org.


Excerpted from BuzzFeed’s February 23, 2016 article by Maritsa Patrinos, here are 14 ways doing theater as a kid can help you as an adult. You can learn more about how theater helps cultivate these skills by reading the full article on BuzzFeed.


Interested in learning how to use the arts to cultivate these skills in your employees? Learn about arts-based training examples here.


14 Ways Doing Theater As A Kid Can Help You As An Adult
1. It improves your public speaking skills.
2. You learn the value of teamwork.
3. It teaches you empathy.
4. You become a master of stress management.
5. You’ll gain confidence.
6. But you’ll also learn some humility.
7. It teaches you how to deal with rejection.
8. You’ll know how to work on a deadline.
9. It is a surefire way of gaining reading skills.
10. You’ll gain a higher appreciation of the written (and spoken) word.
11. It makes you more charismatic.
12. Your memorization skills will be on point.
13. It gets you in the habit of staying physically active.
14. It teaches you some real-world professionalism.
 

Photo courtesy of Trust Company of Kansas. Photo by Christopher Clark.

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Connecting Art and Business in Practice

Posted by Mica Scalin
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Mica Scalin is the Co-Founder of Another Limited Rebellion, which helps businesses and individuals devleop their own creative practices to grow and succeed. She has worked in communications, marketing, and creative development for Showtime Networks, CBS, and NBC Universal. She was the Head of Communications for the nonprofit JDub and has produced and curated numerous art and cultural exhibitions and events.

 

The following is excerpted from Scalin's ARTSblog post on AmericansfortheArts.org.

 

Another Limited Rebellion,

Times Are Changing

Dozens of times in the past few years I’ve been in a room of professionals in non-arts related fields (think engineering, manufacturing, energy, finance) and asked the question: “Do you need creativity to succeed at your job?” In this time, I’ve seen the show of hands go from less-than-half the group to 99% of the room. Not only are they aware they need it, they are quick to articulate why; innovation and differentiation, marketing and customer engagement, recruitment and culture building. BUT when I ask a follow up question to the same people: “Would you call yourself creative?” only 2-3 hands are raised and tentatively at that. This is the discrepancy we think is essential to address.

 

Window of Opportunity

I loved the story that was told in Americans for the Arts’ 2013 BCA Survey of Business Support for the Arts. It absolutely validated what we had been seeing with our clients and helped us to hone in on how best to offer something they could really use.

 

Only a small percentage of the responders said they supported the arts because it helped their businesses grow or meet corporate objectives. On the other hand, a great majority said they would increase contributions to the arts if it increased their businesses profitability.

 

Now, while it is very unlikely that we could actually get the data to prove our art engagements affect bottom lines, there is another angle to come at this same issue because 59% said they would increase contributions if it was demonstrated that the arts promote employee creativity and growth. Any business that invests in employee growth and creativity does it because they believe it will increase profitability and impact their bottom line.

 

We know that arts can promote creativity and growth in individuals in so many ways but the challenge is how to do this in a way that reflects a businesses needs.

 

Sharing Practice

Turn over my business card and you will see the words “Creativity Is A Practice”. I love seeing the “ah-ha moment” on people’s faces when they read those words. It is like a muscle that gets exercised, those who practice it, have more of its power available to them. Most importantly, it is a way of thinking about creativity that makes its value available to anyone.

 

When we share our practice we make ourselves vulnerable by exposing the not-quite-right, the trials and errors and the outright failures. This in itself is helpful because it demonstrates that creating something great requires a lot of messiness and uncertainty in the process. Becoming comfortable with such ambiguities and developing a kind of resilience is how artists survive and grow.

 

Seeing how artists must continually put un-finished, in-complete work out for critique in order to improve their work, sets a great example for those in businesses that are struggling to get ahead. In an environment not necessarily conducive to the relentless iterative, trial and error processes that innovation requires, artists can provide a model.
 

Times Are Changing

Dozens of times in the past few years I’ve been in a room of professionals in non-arts related fields (think engineering, manufacturing, energy, finance) and asked the question: “Do you need creativity to succeed at your job?” In this time, I’ve seen the show of hands go from less-than-half the group to 99% of the room. Not only are they aware they need it, they are quick to articulate why; innovation and differentiation, marketing and customer engagement, recruitment and culture building. BUT when I ask a follow up question to the same people: “Would you call yourself creative?” only 2-3 hands are raised and tentatively at that. This is the discrepancy we think is essential to address. If people feel so alienated from their own creativity how can truely value and appreciate the labor of artists?

Window of Opportunity

I loved the story that was told in Americans for the Arts’ 2013 BCA Survey of Business Support for the Arts. It absolutely validated what we had been seeing with our clients and helped us to hone in on how best to offer something they could really use.

Only a small percentage of the responders said they supported the arts because it helped their businesses grow or meet corporate objectives. On the other hand, a great majority said they would increase contributions to the arts if it increased their businesses profitability.

Now, while it is very unlikely that we could actually get the data to prove our art engagements affect bottom lines, there is another angle to come at this same issue because 59% said they would increase contributions if it was demonstrated that the arts promote employee creativity and growth. Any business that invests in employee growth and creativity does it because they believe it will increase profitability and impact their bottom line.

We know that arts can promote creativity and growth in individuals in so many ways but the challenge is how to do this in a way that reflects a businesses needs.

Sharing Practice

Turn over my business card and you will see the words “Creativity Is A Practice”. I love seeing the “ah-ha moment” on people’s faces when they read those words. It is like a muscle that gets exercised, those who practice it, have more of its power available to them. Most importantly, it is a way of thinking about creativity that makes its value available to anyone.

When we share our practice we make ourselves vulnerable by exposing the not-quite-right, the trials and errors and the outright failures. This in itself is helpful because it demonstrates that creating something great requires a lot of messiness and uncertainty in the process. Becoming comfortable with such ambiguities and developing a kind of resilience is how artists survive and grow.

Seeing how artists must continually put un-finished, in-complete work out for critique in order to improve their work, sets a great example for those in businesses that are struggling to get ahead. In an environment not necessarily conducive to the relentless iterative, trial and error processes that innovation requires, artists can provide a model.

- See more at: http://blog.americansforthearts.org/node/95091/draft#sthash.qmwTMRSs.dpuf

Times Are Changing

Dozens of times in the past few years I’ve been in a room of professionals in non-arts related fields (think engineering, manufacturing, energy, finance) and asked the question: “Do you need creativity to succeed at your job?” In this time, I’ve seen the show of hands go from less-than-half the group to 99% of the room. Not only are they aware they need it, they are quick to articulate why; innovation and differentiation, marketing and customer engagement, recruitment and culture building. BUT when I ask a follow up question to the same people: “Would you call yourself creative?” only 2-3 hands are raised and tentatively at that. This is the discrepancy we think is essential to address. If people feel so alienated from their own creativity how can truely value and appreciate the labor of artists?

Window of Opportunity

I loved the story that was told in Americans for the Arts’ 2013 BCA Survey of Business Support for the Arts. It absolutely validated what we had been seeing with our clients and helped us to hone in on how best to offer something they could really use.

Only a small percentage of the responders said they supported the arts because it helped their businesses grow or meet corporate objectives. On the other hand, a great majority said they would increase contributions to the arts if it increased their businesses profitability.

Now, while it is very unlikely that we could actually get the data to prove our art engagements affect bottom lines, there is another angle to come at this same issue because 59% said they would increase contributions if it was demonstrated that the arts promote employee creativity and growth. Any business that invests in employee growth and creativity does it because they believe it will increase profitability and impact their bottom line.

We know that arts can promote creativity and growth in individuals in so many ways but the challenge is how to do this in a way that reflects a businesses needs.

Sharing Practice

Turn over my business card and you will see the words “Creativity Is A Practice”. I love seeing the “ah-ha moment” on people’s faces when they read those words. It is like a muscle that gets exercised, those who practice it, have more of its power available to them. Most importantly, it is a way of thinking about creativity that makes its value available to anyone.

When we share our practice we make ourselves vulnerable by exposing the not-quite-right, the trials and errors and the outright failures. This in itself is helpful because it demonstrates that creating something great requires a lot of messiness and uncertainty in the process. Becoming comfortable with such ambiguities and developing a kind of resilience is how artists survive and grow.

Seeing how artists must continually put un-finished, in-complete work out for critique in order to improve their work, sets a great example for those in businesses that are struggling to get ahead. In an environment not necessarily conducive to the relentless iterative, trial and error processes that innovation requires, artists can provide a model.

- See more at: http://blog.americansforthearts.org/node/95091/draft#sthash.qmwTMRSs.dpuf
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The Art of the Startup

Posted by Stacy Lasner
0 Comments
The Art of the Startup

For America’s startups, employee creativity is a crucial ingredient for success. It not only fuels product development; it also helps build relationships. An article on Chicago Inno tells the story of a collaboration between edtech startup Packback and healthcare startup ContextMedia strengthened by a shared love of music.

 

Packback was incubating at ContextMedia to work on growing their e-textbook and digital learning platform when Packback cofounder Mike Shannon discovered that ContextMedia product manager Ernesto Rodriguez made hip hop beats and worked as a DJ. He reached out to see if Rodriguez wanted to lay beats for some of his rap lyrics.

 

When word got out about the partnership, other employee musicians came forward. "What we realized…is that we were surrounded by pent up latent creativity, latent creative talent that was waiting for a catalyst to jump into action," said Shannon. The duo began bringing other employees into the mix.

 

According to the article, “For Shannon, the collaboration also allowed him an outlet to share his entrepreneurial journey.” The song “Snowball,” for example, talks about the launch of Packback and features soundbites made by ContextMedia’s Shradha Agarwal.

 

(Soundcloud from Chicago Inno site)

 

The partnership has been instrumental to Packback’s business. Thanks to the Packback staff accomplished at ConextMedia, they raised $1.5 million and were able to move to a new office, which will feature a mural painted by Packback cofounder Jessica Tenuta and a sound booth for employee performances.

 

"In the startup environment, if it becomes successful, things can go very fast before you even have time to step back and plan," said Rodriguez, who has previously worked at Groupon and Redbox. "That sort of environment and those situations will make or break a person, or in the instance of a creative person, allows them to use the creative side of their mind to come up with solutions."

 

"If a group is literally jamming together and creating something, there is no question that it gets the creative juices flowing," said Northwestern Kellogg professor Michelle Buck, who studies the intersection of arts and business. "If these are people in ongoing intact groups that continue to work together, the level of creativity will be increased...because it generates an energy, confidence, a sense of rhythm, and a sense of familiarity and bonding. There's an energy that will naturally carry over."

 

Interview with Mike Shannon of Packback about the collaboration:

 

(Soundcloud from Chicago Inno site)

 

Read the full article here.

 

Learn more about employee musical collaborations.

 

Do your employees collaborate on art projects? Tell us about it on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at partnership@artsusa.org.

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Vans and Americans for the Arts are Halo Award Finalists!

Posted by Stacy Lasner
0 Comments

We are excited to share that Vans and Americans for the Arts have been named a finalist for the 2016 Halo Awards for the annual Vans Custom Culture arts education competition!

 

The Cause Marketing Halo Awards are North American cause marketing's highest honor and the subject of a special section in Adweek. Winners will be announced and awarded at the annual Cause Marketing Forum Conference in Chicago on June 2, 2016.

 

Created to inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design and to bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets, Custom Culture is a national high school customization competition through which art classes design blank Vans shoes around specific themes. The class submissions are narrowed down to the top 50 and the top 5, and the grand prize winning submission secures $50,000 for their school's art program. Since 2012, Americans for the Arts has worked alongside Vans as Custom Culture’s official national charity partner.

 

Registration for the 2016 Custom Culture competition closes February 12, 2016. Register your school here.

 

According to Americans for the Arts' Ready to Innovate report, 85 percent of business leaders say they cannot find the creative candidates they’re looking for. By cultivating the abililty to think creatively in the workplace, arts education is a pathway to career success. Vans also believes that arts education will help future proof their “Off the Wall” brand. By inspiring and perpetuating youth culture, Vans maintains a stable customer base and will be able to find talented designers to lead the brand into the future.

 

Learn more about how art education cultivates the ability to think creatively in the workplace.

 

Read about other businesses supporting arts education.

 

Does your business run an arts education program for youth? We want to hear from you! Tell us about it on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or by emailing partnership@artsusa.org.

 

 

Facts from the Custom Culture website.

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How is a Rock Band like a Startup?

Posted by Kate Reese
0 Comments
How is a Rock Band like a Startup?

Contently cofounder and author Shane Snow has had his fair share of fraught working relationships. Role confusion, disproportionate workloads, and lack of training all hindered his path to rock band stardom. In a Fast Company article, Snow shares insights he gained about startups through his experiences in music.

 

Snow suggests the following characteristics of great bands, which should be considered when building a successful startup team:

 

  1. They're similar enough to groove together and get along well through rough patches.
  2. They're different enough to create tension, which leads to creativity.
  3. They're each specialists at their own instruments, yet competent at each others'.

 

YOU CAN'T ALL PLAY GUITAR
Snow likens the formation of a strong leadership team to that of a strong musical group. In the same way that everyone may want to be the lead singer, startup employees may find themselves vying for the position of CEO. Those looking to launch a business together should be able to trust each other to play different parts, and respect each individual’s role.

 

SOLO ACTS RARELY WORK
Avoid the one-man-band. No one can do all the work, and collaborative thinking often produces the best results. "Teammates motivate, balance, and prevent inventors from going too far in the quest to push boundaries," Snow says.

 

GREAT COLLABORATIONS ARE UNIQUE

Snow believes a good team needs, "The Looks, The Brains, and The Wildcard," a concept he borrowed from the FX sitcom It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Without the wildcard, there is no tension to drive innovation. For Snow, the wildcard is Contently's CTO, a self-designated devil's advocate.

 

Read the full article here.

 

Has your arts training helped inform your business philosophy? We want to hear from you! Tell us about it on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at partnership@artsusa.org.

 

Photo credit: Larry Ziffle.

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