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The head, hand and heart of great art preview

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We are pleased to announce today a preview that represents a summary of our upcoming publication with the same title that is planned for early October. The publication will be a summary of our latest findings and current thinking.

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The head, hand and heart of great art preview

  1. 1. The head, hand and heart of great art Learning from creative disciplines for better outcomes in business and society Publication Preview September 2014 Publisher and Author: Dirk Dobiéy, Co-Authors: Kirsten Gay Johann Sarmiento Vincent Matyi Thomas Koeplin
  2. 2. Age of Artists / The head, hand and heart of great art – Dirk Dobiéy ageofartists.org 2 / 6 “Art is the future of knowledge” Chus Martinez stated when she was member of the core team for dOCUMENTA (13). While a bold statement it is a good representation of the evolution we are witnessing. As we look both back and ahead, it becomes apparent that the demands of our society and the globalized, digitalized information economies require answers that go beyond the traditional notion of work in organizations, growth in the economy, and advancement in science. By now, it is common sense that people - young and experienced - need to be equipped differently in order to succeed in this accelerated and complex time we live in. Skills and competences such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, improvisation and cooperation become more important. Many leading thinkers promote a new approach to leadership that embraces authenticity, curiosity, invention and collaboration. Organizations--and the large ones often struggle with this--need to constantly innovate to survive and need to look for sustainable ways to execute their missions. While all of those are noble endeavors, they are targeted mainly at maintaining the status quo and making sure we further advance in science and grow the economy. But what is the price of exclusively focusing on advancement and growth? Clearly, something bigger is at stake. The world is full of major challenges and problems to be solved, and while many hoped--even predicted or promised--that most of them would be gone by now, they are more present than ever. The evening news is full of conflicts, catastrophes and crises. Since the Enlightenment, science and the economy have become the two main pillars on which societies are built around the globe and more certainly in the Western world. Advancement and growth are the two most important mandates for the modern world and are big business. Yet neither have led to solutions for the most urgent issues. Many believe some of the problems are likely to grow worse:  Technological advancements have led to great things but also to an overabundance of options resulting in acceleration that overwhelms many and thus directly causes fatigue and burnout. Studies show people in developed countries have not become happier on average since the fifties, despite increased wealth for a great numbers of people.  Wealth is again at risk as the dominating financial system creates an unequal distribution of resources and exponential growth--not of value but debt--by offering a few the opportunity to get rich without creating any value whatsoever and that is questioned by too few who actually have the power to change it.  The growth dogma reaches its limits with “peak everything” (= scarcity of natural resources), destruction of nature and climate change due to human intervention.  Many people feel a lack of meaning and purpose, leading to a collective crisis of identity. This identity is also at risk as freedom grows precious again in a fully digitalized world wherein everything is transparent and nothing can be kept in private. This is where an artistic mindset and approach can help. It is certainly not a “silver bullet,” but it has the potential to make a unique contribution--in combination with other approaches--to reestablish a desperately needed balance. We believe such an approach can help in three major areas that also represent the fundamental motivation basis for Age of Artists: 1. Challenges in a global society of individual people: making progress with complex problems. Many challenges in the world are extremely complex. Success in addressing them as a global society is more likely when an artistic mindset and processes are applied. This is particularly relevant in the world of business and economy. Business has always been important as a means to an end. Today,
  3. 3. Age of Artists / The head, hand and heart of great art – Dirk Dobiéy ageofartists.org 3 / 6 however, it seems to be the dominant force and sole purpose in life for too many. However, many leading thinkers believe for the economy to not create more crises and instability, a new approach is required. Approaches and alternative concepts are more likely to become new norms when we bring beauty and meaning into business. 2. Future of organizations and leadership. The term business in its original, epistemological sense means to be in good company for mutual benefit. To survive, organizations need to evolve “back” to this original idea as many of the key themes that define the future of organizations and their leadership are dependent on cross- disciplinary and cross-company cooperation, constant innovation and the balancing of multiple forces, needs, demands and targets. Much of what this evolution requires can be found in the arts. Organizations as a whole and leadership as a core activity in managing organizations need to support this change by creating safe environments where faith in people is more important than controlling them, where teams are built on trust so that collaboration can flourish, and where leaders coach their people as the future is emerging. 3. Artful living. People who spend more time with art and/or apply an artistic attitude establish multiple focuses, perspectives and viewpoints. The German word allgemeinwissen, which means “broad knowledge,” is a good synonym for this. It is good to broaden one's skill set and expertise towards what is demanded today, but it also offers an alternative to the dominant idea of a linear career and restricted life that comes with it. In the future, it is more likely that people will have multiple careers or occupations; therefore personally exploring one or many art genres is good for a fulfilled life and might well lead to a more significant perception change when it comes to beliefs and attitudes towards what really matters. At the same time, engaging with individuals from various disciplines helps to create a more diverse and thus robust people network similar to what is known as the “artistic community” that supports, feeds, and nourishes but also questions, critiques, and challenges the person. Illustration 1: Motivational Basis for Age of Artists: Individuals, Organizations, Global Society
  4. 4. Age of Artists / The head, hand and heart of great art – Dirk Dobiéy ageofartists.org 4 / 6 From individual to organization and from organization to society, the right attitude and actions can make a difference. We are convinced that artistic thinking and action can provide answers. Skills, competencies, methods, ways of thinking and emotional perceptions, as we know from how artists work, will help to deal with and shape the far- reaching changes of our time--for people, organizations and the global society. In all walks of life, the artistic individual will become the counterpart and balance to artificial intelligence. The Age of Artists Model One thing particularly interesting about art versus many business disciplines is that ‘artists are craftspeople’. They ‘think by making’ and unite the ‘hand and the head,’ as sociologist Richard Sennett describes in his book The Craftsman. “It has both a physical dimension (exhibiting mastery in craftsmanship) and a metaphysical dimension (connecting a new product, service, or business model with the broader zeitgeist and cultural climate).” Based on this thought and by conducting interviews with artists and leading thinkers in a variety of countries as well as through secondary research, we have been able to compile a first version of our Age of Artists Model that contains the major patterns we were able to identify until now. It consists of four key elements: Illustration 2: Triad of great art and the aspect of time
  5. 5. Age of Artists / The head, hand and heart of great art – Dirk Dobiéy ageofartists.org 5 / 6 Head - summarizes our findings when it comes to developing an attitude as a basis or, a foundation for the artistic practice. It includes five components: Transcendence, Awareness, Position, Passion and Resilience. Hand - combines a series of actions that artists do and that we were able to identify across various art genres. They might be relevant for other disciplines as well, in fact some of them are already common practice in other areas. We structured this section into three modules that contain further sub modules: Search, Reflect and Produce. All three modules in this section contain another set of sub sections. Heart - represents an attempt to capture the sphere of beliefs, feelings, and emotions. We included four areas into this section. Motivation. Empathy, Faith and Evocation. Time - acknowledges that every artist has to be in the ‘now’ where head, hand and heart need to be in sync but also develops over time where previous insights and experiences support the direction of a next step. This is the sphere of iteration, learning, evolution - in short: advancement over time. All together Head, Hand & Heart deliberately kept in sync over time lead to great art, meaningful science and sustainable business outcomes. As said, a key aspect of our work is to collect and combine, to explore and exploit, the work of researchers and thought leaders who are “dancing on the cutting edge,” as violinist Miha Pogacnik calls it, which is to say the work of individuals who attempt to make a connection between various disciplines such as art and business or art and science. We at Age of Artists like to see ourselves in the same spot in order to live our mission: continuously learning from creative disciplines for better outcomes in business and society. While work in progress, we have already developed a great appreciation for artists of all genres and the way they approach their individual mission. A mission where work and life cannot be separated from each other and yet there is room for family, friends, hobbies and even the most mundane things. At this stage of our journey and approximately one year into the process of investigating and a couple of months in personal dialogue with artists and thought leaders we do not feel our model is somewhat complete or ready to be exhibited and yet we know it must be brought on stage to continue its journey. We learned that great art is produced when the head, hand, heart are in sync and when there is an appreciation for an evolution over time. We also identified some potential elements that make an artistic attitude (head) which is mandatory and identified a variety of action modules (hand) that we interpret as a toolbox for optional use throughout the artistic process. We believe there is some emotional component to great art (heart) and have seen many proof points that there are larger iteration circles in the life of an artist and art overall that help to develop an individual art practice or entire art genre over time. But how does this all fit together with the idea of creating better outcomes in business and society? We propose that the Head, Hand and Heart supported by an environment that consists of a different leadership approach and an adjusted way to work in professional organizations. In essence, two things need to be connected: the value-based, purpose- built organization and the individual with an artistic attitude and skill set looking for meaning in supporting an organization’s purpose. A connection between the two is an adjusted form of leadership that we call “studio leadership”. In a society that includes those components as a standard and not the exception we can not only begin but also successfully address the wicked problems we face.
  6. 6. Age of Artists / The head, hand and heart of great art – Dirk Dobiéy ageofartists.org 6 / 6 Illustration 3: The Age of Artists Model revised This preview represents a summary of our upcoming publication with the same title and is a summary of our latest findings and current thinking. We are still at the beginning of our journey and look for more interested and interesting people to engage with in a fruitful dialogue to evolve our hypothesis. Come play with us!