Learning to Lead Creatively – The Impact of Artistic Principles in Business Education

by | May 14, 2024

The best part of the feedback I get is illustrated by the graph below.

Hear me out.

Jamie Woolf at IE University


Teaching a course on the intersection of artistry and business is challenging. Defining artistry within a business context is far more complex than it seems at first glance. Because in business, we love efficiency and productivity. That’s what we strive for, right? But artistry and creativity often help build strong companies. Consider companies like Apple, Disney, Beats, and Polaroid that integrate artistic vision and practices into their core operations.

At the beginning of the course, students often grapple with a fundamental question: Can an art mindset truly be applied in business? Many enter with skepticism, viewing artistry and business as two distinct realms. However, as the course progresses, the answer becomes an overwhelming and resounding yes.

Through in-depth exploration of the work of founders like Steve Jobs, Dr. Edwin Land, or Jimmy Iovine, students learn that artistry in business isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about creating meaningful experiences, fostering emotional connections, and inspiring both employees and customers. It is about pushing for originality and uniqueness -it is about Innovation.

Disney’s Philosophy

Take Walt Disney, for example. He revolutionized animation with “personality animation,” where characters like Mickey Mouse were portrayed with nuanced emotions and distinct personalities. This made them relatable and human-like, deepening the emotional connection with viewers. Disney himself said,

“The most important aim of any of the fine arts is to get a purely emotional response from the beholder.”

This philosophy set Disney’s work apart, making his characters come alive in ways never seen before.

These examples not only convince students that an art mindset can be applied in business, but they also undergo a transformative shift in perspective. They begin to see it as not just applicable, but essential. They realize that the most successful and iconic companies often draw their inspiration from creative disciplines rather than traditional business paradigms. This profound change in viewpoint is precisely what the graph below illustrates.

This shift in perspective is crucial for the next generation of business leaders.

So, when you think about your own organization and if you aim to create an innovative company, the recommendation is clear: Look beyond traditional business programs.

Your inspiration and strategic advantage lie in embracing the principles and practices of the arts. And if you are interested to learn more – contact us.



We help companies bring value to life, highlight what is human in their work, and create a diverse inspiration for innovation—interested in transforming your workplace culture with these principles? Reach out to us to explore how we can work together.



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