Insights from the arts

How can business thrive in the creativity revolution? Jessica Symes shares her thoughts


There are many useful and imperative insights that can be taken from the world of performing arts into the world of business, says Symes Group's Jessica Symes.

I literally grew up in the theatre, with both parents devotees of, and with careers in, the world of live theatre.

My mother worked in production and father in theatre photography. My second home was the Nimrod (now Belvoir Street) Theatre. Storytelling, passion for all things theatrical, collaboration and the community that the arts created were my world.

There are many useful and imperative insights that can be taken from the world of performing arts into the world of business in the current state of play but the most glaringly obvious one is that of productivity and innovation.

How is that a small group of creatives can produce something entirely new in sometimes as little as four weeks, with little or no resources other than their imaginations? It is because working collaboratively and creatively is in their blood.

Diversity is imperative and is valued as so. Ideas cannot be abstracted, reshaped, reframed and redirected if there is not diversity of thoughts, ideas and perspectives.

Processes must be flexible and malleable, as the real magic happens when you don’t know exactly what the finished product looks like. This does not mean that their isn’t a captain of the ship with clear vision, purpose and leadership. But if that captain is only leading the group according to their ideas, it will only be that; true creativity and innovation requires many hands, hearts and minds. Therefore true collaboration in its purest form leads to true productivity and true innovation.

In the corporate sector at present there are a lot of unproductive workforces, disengaged workforces and uninspired workforces.



"How is that a small group of creatives can produce something entirely new in sometimes as little as four weeks, with little or no resources other than their imaginations?"

People aren’t talking to each other, they are not listening and they think collaboration is compromise rather than a way of working with others to achieve outcomes.

So much time and energy is spent judging, whingeing, wanting and hating that there is very little room for dreaming, creating, learning and making.

Everyone may be turning to activity based and agile work environments, but the environment, structure and leadership is still not conducive and is against the grain of what is required to foster collaboration, creativity and innovation.

Why? Fear of the unknown, fear of something different, fear of losing control. For example when time is no longer the currency of outputs, why is everyone still filing into the city at 8:30am and filing out at 5pm like robots, walking into the building miserable and not talking to each other all day except to have meetings that are based on information sharing and not creating.

The deep and philosophical principles, values and mantras of the creative arts demonstrate the dramatic shifts and changes that business need to adopt to ensure survival in the age that will see the robots doing the "jobs" and the "people" dreaming and collaborating to make the most innovative ideas a reality.

"Jobs" are bullshit.

Adults are allowed to borrow money from banks, purchase property, have and raise children, but not allowed to decide when and how they work for the most part.

We are watched, observed and performance managed by other adults employed to make sure we don’t step out of line or do something different or wrong.

There is only a small percentage of individuals that actually want to do nothing and get paid for that. Most of us seek purpose and meaning through the work that we do, so then why do we focus so much on that small percentage when the majority who seek purpose and meaning would create so much more innovation and creativity.

Workforces are disengaged because they are treated like children. A lack of autonomy and opportunities to contribute outside the tasks they are expected to prove delivering or performing is killing our workforces. I walk into numerous corporate spaces each week and there is no buzz, no excitement, no productivity and definitely no creativity as when that is present it can be felt.

Creative teams that are practiced in the art of collaboration like that of a theatre troupe are productive, positive, empathetic, engaged, enthusiastic, curious and inquisitive and this is how they can produce unbelievably creative, thought provoking and beautiful story telling.

#creativity #creativeworkspaces #diversity #diversityintheworkplace

Ph: 1300 657 934  

office@symesgroup.com.au

Suite 106, 7-11 Clarke Street, Crows Nest NSW 2065

PO Box 5192 Greenwich NSW 2065

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