Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

The Many Cultures of Innovation

While this blog is not necessarily a qualitative evaluation of any article, I happened to love this one. It highlights a perspective on innovation that can sometimes be overlooked. A perspective, that, as future managers, we need to keep in mind. The idea that geniuses aren’t necessarily the people you hire, but that smart people can be trained to think more inventively, is brilliant. And it seems to be something we are doing ourselves at this very time. We’re examining the arts industry as it stands, assessing the problems, strengths, weaknesses, what works and what doesn’t work. And we’re starting to think about it innovatively; we’re preparing ourselves in every class to think outside the box for how to engage constituencies to the next level. The level that sells tickets, the level that builds audiences and the level that retains them.

Additionally, the idea that diversity can build stronger, more innovative teams is key. Working continuously in organizations that employ all types of people from artists to accountants, teams at arts organizations are perfectly primed to be thinking outside the box. If we follow the lead here and create an internal (and external!) culture for innovation within our own organizations, we may find that it breeds naturally this type of thinking. And it’s this type of thinking that can bring our industry to the next generation.

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One comment on “The Many Cultures of Innovation

  1. carolynsupinka18
    September 25, 2014

    Thanks for sharing this great article! I definitely agree that ‘innovation’ is oftentimes used as nothing more than a buzzword to describe a product that, while new, doesn’t inspire the ‘radical new understanding’ that the article promotes.
    Diversity and interdisciplinary thinking are two points that I really think encourage innovation. One of my favorite parts of my undergraduate experience (and there were so many favorite parts!) was that, though I was in a school for art and writing, interdisciplinary collaboration was encouraged throughout the entire university as a whole.
    If you walked down a hall in the school of art, you’d see art students working with programmers, drama students working with psychology students and creative writers, artists working with biology students to create ‘bio-hacking’ projects…rather than staying inside our own spheres of ‘expertise’, we had the great opportunity to draw from other areas to create new products and experiences. By stepping out of your own ‘head space’, you have the opportunity to see your problem from a totally different perspective. I think this really helps fuel true innovation in any discipline.
    If you don’t have such an environment that supports interdisciplinary research, I think it might be easy to get stuck in your own field. I hope to work in an organization like the one the article supports: diverse, interdisciplinary, and never boring!

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