Edited by Robert DeFillippi, Alison Rieple and Patrik Wikström
Chapter 9: Breaking the routines: artistic and design interventions as a tool for developing creativity in organizations
Artistic interventions during which artists collaborate with companies to facilitate new ways of thinking and acting in order to increase creativity and innovation have enjoyed increased interest in management studies (Barry and Meisiek, 2010; Berthoin Antal and Strauss, 2014; Biehl-Missal and Berthoin Antal, 2011; Darsø, 2004; Styhre and Eriksson, 2008; Taylor and Ladkin, 2009). Parallel to this is the emergence of design thinking, a concept referring to design methods and designers’ ways of thinking about problems and challenges in order to trigger creativity and innovation (Brown, 2009; Martin, 2007). Design thinking emphasizes that being innovative today requires new tools and new ways of thinking and acting (Brown, 2009; Dunne and Martin, 2006; Jahnke, 2013). Both commercial and public sector organizations need novel, creative ways of finding strategic advantages in order to meet the challenges of the contemporary world (Berthoin Antal and Strauss, 2014; DeFillippi et al., 2007; Liedtka, 2010; Liedtka and Ogilvie, 2011; Weick, 2007). It is not only a matter of being innovative in terms of developing new products but often the need also exists to change ways of operating when the existing routines do not achieve the desired results. In order to break with the old ways of thinking and acting, new ways of approaching challenges are called for. Disruptions, breaking with the old, however, are often difficult to process, causing lots of frustration. Few companies outside the art world and the creative industries are used to working with artistic methods; even if there is support for an artistic intervention, the process of implementing it faces several challenges. In this chapter, the case of a Swedish trade union (The Union) is used to illustrate these challenges. The Union, which represents managers and employees in the private sector, wanted to become more creative and innovative when recruiting new members and thus began a process of artistic intervention, which we followed for a year. Confronting art can lead to a shift in our way of seeing the world differently, and this was actively sought in the case of The Union.
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