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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Arts-Based Initiatives: Thinking Differently, Differently.

In today’s global economy, organizations are searching for new and innovative strategic and managerial approaches to be competitive and create value in the marketplace. The complexity of today’s competition requires organizations to build up new competencies capable of driving business growth and new business solutions. The successful 21st century organizations will be those able to develop competencies to manage their energy and emotional states in order to govern the value creation dynamics. Dimensions such as passion, emotions, hope, moral, imagination, aspirations, and creativity are now being established as the new strategic organizational value drivers.

Today’s activity is a small sampling of a professional development arena designed to transform a work group from task management into a dynamic, collaborative and synergized creative force focusing on innovation and productivity. Typically a two to three day environment is necessary to fully awaken the internal engines and connections needed to envision a transformed work environment. The arts are not only a mechanism to spur and develop emotional and energetic states within an organization; they can play a range of instrumental functions generally related to the development and transformation of an organization. The set of the possible involvements are grouped in and represented by the professional development and strategic concept known as Arts-Based-Initiatives (ABIs).

To explore the adoption of arts within organizations an analysis of the Arts-Based Initiative (ABI) concept is needed. An ABI can be defined as any organizational and management intervention using one or more art forms to enable people to undergo an art experience within an organizational context, as well as to embed the arts as a business asset. It is primarily and fundamentally an experience-based process involving and engaging people both rationally and emotionally through either active or passive participation.

The focus of an ABI is not the work of art in itself, which can be a painting, a poem, a film, a dance, a musical or a theatrical performance, but the arts experience instead. An ABI is intended to use works of art and arts as media to trigger, catalyze, drive, harness and govern the emotional and energetic dimensions of an organization which can have an impact on people and/or on the organizational infrastructure of tangible and intangible assets, supporting corporate change in order to develop a new organizational culture, which encourage creativity and entrepreneurship among employees.

Given a significant ABI professional development environment, different issues related both to people and to the organizational infrastructure are addressed, and are summarized in four main areas: mindsets and behaviors change; communication and coordination enhancement; organizational creativity development; and improvement of organizational atmosphere. ABI’s help move people to see their job and their organization differently and most importantly to develop a better awareness of themselves, of the organization and of the world around them. In today’s activity we will only test the waters of thinking differently – embracing the sensory palate with a mere wafting of the aroma from the main course of ABI activity.