A sustainable economy requires fundamental changes in the way we do business and organise ourselves. We must venture into unknown territory and in navigating through we will have to move beyond our habits, sectors, disciplines, and other comfy places. Business as usual is known for being, well, usual. And so, we need speculative thinking, unorthodox and critical approaches, cheeky and transformative experiments.

We need the other and other bodies of knowledge.

Enter the artist. 

It has been argued, suggested, but most of all assumed that when business and artists team up, we can conceive and build economies we desperately need: Economy based on care taking instead of taking.

And then there’s reality. If there’s one conclusion that we can draw from projects in which artists and organizations equally work together, it is that the much sought-after synergy does not come for free. Not a surprise perhaps, but still somethings that deserves our attention – given what’s at stake.

In our SUSTAIN (SUSTainable Artistic Innovation) research project we want to find out what it takes to make these odd collaborations between ‘normal’ organizations and artists work.

In particular, we focus on the work and added value of so-called innovation brokers. These brokers, or intermediaries, or connectors (we’re still looking for a name that does justice to their work, more on that in our next blog) see it as their task to make the collaborations work. Not an easy task, given the substantial differences between artistic and business practices. In essence, SUSTAIN focuses on the question of how to strike a balance between on the one hand capitalizing on the differences between business and art that we’re looking for to begin with, and, on the other hand, making sure that these differences get out of hand. Put differently, in the various stages of the innovation process, as a broker, how to differentiate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ tensions in art-business collaborations, and how do you manage them subsequently?

SUSTAIN is a two-year practice-oriented research project. It was initiated by Jacco van Uden (head of the Change Management research group, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, NL) and Godelieve Spaas (head of the New Economy research group, Avans University of Applied Science, NL).

Together with our projectpartners V2_, Baltan Laboratories, Waag Society, Circus Amsterdam, In4Art, Art Partner en ECP | Platform voor de InformatieSamenleving we aim to enrich the body of actionable knowledge of innovation brokers working at the intersection of art, business, and the new economy.

We will be posting updates on the research project frequently. Please join our LinkedIn Group if you want to receive news. If you’d like to learn more about the project, please check in with Jacco or Godelieve. We’re more than happy to explore ways of collaborating.

SUSTAIN is co-funded by SIA Raak MKB

One Comment on “On Art, New Economy, Business, Innovation and Brokers: SUSTAIN is Go!

  1. Pingback: SUSTAIN is go – Sustainable Artistic Innovation – ESB impact

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