Why the Future of Innovation Belongs to Artists and Designers

by | Apr 9, 2014

Social Media Week

Social Media Week

The word “creativity” is used over and over again in the context of innovation. If you type the search word “innovation” in Google Books, you will get more than 6.5 million books that deal with the topic. Clearly, people and companies try to crack the code of innovation.

I got more curious about the subject of innovation while taking an interesting course during my MBA at IE Business School. The class is called Critical Management Thinking and is being taught by Professor Rolf Strom-Olsen. At one of our classes, we discussed innovation and its role in the business world. Although, Prof. claimed, and I agree with him, that innovation is not the only way for an organization to survive when the management decides to innovate, what are the best ways to do so?

I truly believe that one of the best ways to create something valuable, new and important is to work with artists.

At the beginning of the year, an interesting panel took place during the Social Media Week in New York. The panel consisted of professionals in the field of art and faced the question: “Why the future of innovation belongs to artists and designers?”

The participants in the panel which was moderated by Julia Kandinsky, director of NEWINC, the incubator for designers and artists were  Jamie Zigelbaum, an artist, Heather Corcoran, executive director of Rhizome, David Benjamin, architect and professor and Colombia university and Alexander Chan, Creative Director at Google Creative Lab.

It started with the question “what is innovation”. “Innovation is not about building something new, but about…kinda reducing the need for something and making less in our lives, said Chen. “it’s important to…to kinda take back technology for the sake of creativity. So innovation is a step in that direction all the way,” added Benjamin.

When being asked what is the primary role of artists in the innovation process, Jamie Zigelbaum said that in his opinion artists are able to move from the everyday mindset and ask questions that are weird, insulating, and don’t make sense to most people and that artists are able to bring to life what is seen “impossible” to do “We need to fundamentally and continuously question our ways of doing things in order to discover new ones.”

The panel continued to discuss questions such as “what is the primary role of artists in innovation? How do we engage with artists and creativity in a more of a commercial space or an industry space?” it presented examples of spaces that introduce this interdisciplinary interactive collaboration and another topic. You can watch the panelist’s introduction or jump directly to the panel which starts at minute 33:00.


Read more about the intersection of art and business in our blog

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What can we create together?