Maybe I Should Go into Business
Maybe I Should Go into Business
November 10, 2021, 11:28 pm
Filed under: art, art institutions, business, Creative Process, theatre | Tags: 3m, creativity, Google, Imagine, Incentive, Jonah Lehrer, Pixar, Swiffer, theatre, Wieden+Kennedy
Creativity is incredibly important to me. That’s why I read Jonah Lehrer’s book, Imagine: How Creativity Works, even though he’s been disgraced for being a little too “creative” with his Bob Dylan quotes.
Before he got himself disgraced, he made all the podcast rounds so not much of the book was a particular surprise to me. I’ve heard the story of the invention of the Swiffer. I know all about Pixar’s architecture. I am familiar with 3M’s post-it note development. However, the cumulative effect of reading the whole book made me feel like the people who really care about creativity are in business, not the arts. Businesses like 3M, Pixar and Wieden+Kennedy are in the business of innovating, so they do the studies. They run the experiments. They actually value creativity, it would seem.
What strikes me the hardest about this is how arts organizations are NOT particularly interested in creativity and innovation. Arts organizations do not run experiments to see what will make its makers most creative. They’re not working hard to innovate. They out their hardest work into seeming stable, secure, unshakeable. Theatres, museums and such are some of the most conservative of businesses.
It’s a real drag. And ironic that it is the creative arts where creativity is so taken for granted, so devalued, so bottom of the pile of priorities, as to be almost never talked about. Creativity is not a big value in the creative arts.
This is why I’m thinking of getting into Business. Not any business. I know MOST businesses don’t have the interest in innovation that places like 3M or Google do but I am ready to sign up for a businessy day job with benefits if I could be valued for my creativity. Maybe it would be great to bring my outsider creative brain to the task of inventing new kinds of tape or a crazy new mop or whatever. I’d love to try and solve some kind of business problem with my theatre brain. I’m tired of trying to solve theatre problems with my theatre brain. No one wants those things solved. I will go where I’m wanted!
The thing is, as much as outsider perspectives do stimulate creativity (the way the computer programmer invented the Bacon-Infused Old Fashioned or the scientists at InnoCentive tackle problems outside their fields for prizes) it would be extremely unlikely that I would ever be hired at any of these creativity loving businesses, except as a receptionist or something. And I know from experience that no one ever asks the receptionist what they think about a creative problem.
So even though I might be willing to jump over to Business just to be valued for my creativity, it is extremely unlikely that they’d want my particular brand of creativity. Even innovating businesses are suspicious of willful rebellious artists.
We may not talk about creativity in the arts (to our detriment) but creativity is, at least, usually implied. Probably I need to stick with the people who drink the same sort of creativity water. Maybe it’s just so common we don’t need to talk about it. I’d like to stay in the arts, actually, and just experience more creativity and innovation there.
(Also, I discovered after I wrote this piece that I’d read this book before, back in 2012, before Jonah Lehrer’s fall from grace. Hilarious. So memorable! No wonder I recognized so much of the material!)
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Originally published at http://artiststruggle.wordpress.com on November 11, 2021.