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Track 1: Art for Innovation

Chairs

In the Creative Clash report dedicated to the study of the effects of artistic interventions, the authors are happy to report that: “managers have discovered that it makes a lot of sense to use an innovation to generate innovation”. These managers “are experimenting with the potential of artistic interventions: bringing in people, practices, and products from the arts to help address issues their organisations are facing.” Great news for those who believe that art can and should make a difference outside the ‘traditional’ art field also. But how do we get art to work in organisations?

Challenges

The very idea that art has something valuable to offer to innovation seems to be grounded in “ deeply-held beliefs in the ‘transformative power of the arts’“. Typically, the arts are seen as source of creativity, as a new way of looking at things, or as a destabilising and defamiliarising force, inviting us to question and rethink what we tend to take for granted. But how do these special qualities of the arts play out in the context of innovation? Are these the kinds of qualities that innovation needs? And are they what art has to offer in the first place?

In this track we want to open a friendly but critical perspective on the value of arts for innovation. Friendly because we too assume that art holds potential for renewal. Critical because we believe that the moment we reduce art to a will-less pro-innovation management tool, that potential is jeopardised. In a way then, our ambition is to explore how we can engage the arts without instrumentalising them. Put differently: if not in a slavish, straightforward fashion, how can art contribute to innovation?

Format

This track welcomes academics, artists and practitioners from all disciplines. The deadline for paper proposals has passed, but if you are still interested in joining us, please contact Jacco van Uden (chair) directly: j.c.vanuden@hhs.nl

While the format of this track is under construction (and will continue to be for some while, no doubt) there following elements are already in place:

  • The main focus of this track will be on the following classical innovation dilemma: how do you as an organisation make room for the stuff on which real innovation depends and thrives (uncertainty, experiments, disruption, playfulness, new perspectives, etc.) when business as usual is believed to rely on structure, continuity, predictability and solid business cases? While many management books have been dedicated to this subject, in our track we aim shed a new light on the matter by drawing from the arts. Is art capable of reframing this innovation dilemma? Does an artist see different things or things differently? Do the arts open new perspectives on how to innovate?
  • A number of big organisations will be interviewed on how they experience and deal with this innovation dilemma on a daily basis. Based on these interviews a short play will be written. This play will be the point of departure and the focal point of our track: a fictional but a very much real-life based case.
  • There will be room for presentations. However, papers will not be delivered in a traditional pre-set order. Presenters will be given to opportunity to pitch their papers to the whole group after which the participants can choose what paper they’d like to learn more about. Papers will then be discussed in small groups, where participants will invited to link the paper to the overall theme of the conference (as embodied in our play).
  • There will be plenty of opportunity to work in small groups. Aiming to practice what we preach, we will encourage engaging different modes of interaction – anything from traditional discussions to artistic interventions.

Questions? Comments? Care to join us? Please send an e-mail to Jacco van Uden ( j.c.vanuden@hhs.nl)

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