The value to business of working with artists

Tūrangawaewae talks to the place we are from and to where we want to live. Who does not want to feel empowered and connected? To making a positive contribution? The opportunity to work with our Artist Community provides access to secure attraction and retention, creativity, innovation and collaboration.

Artists are In tune with the times, they navigate a path to connect, wrestle with and resolve issues. They run businesses. In Dunedin the City Council assigns artists to major infrastructure projects through its tender process. This contributes to delivering the city in which its residents have pleasure in residing.

CreativeHQ led Arts Design Sprint

This month I was with delight to accept the opportunity to participate in an Arts Design sprint. This was hosted by CreativeHQ in Wellington and given its importance to him and the city led by its visionary CE Stefan Korn. Meg Williams CE of the New Zealand Festival helped to populate the team of 5 leading artists / producers.

The week started with confirming Purpose and what success looked like for the week. Monday brought together practitioners, recipients and funders with over 30 interviews conducted. The middle of the week looked as possibilities including how artists could help funders streamline their processes and drive new revenue opportunities, and the back of the week began to test some of these offerings.

While it is not the purpose of this piece to communicate the detail, there is a pathway to further progress the learnings and with some more work now required to make tangible the benefits.

What the week confirmed to me, wearing the demand - audience, business partner hat, was the great teamwork from the industry, the shared vision for improving lives (think Wellness budget) and the abundance philosophy that was championed by Stefan and embraced by the group.

Artists role as curator / implementor

Artists are pivotal in seeking alignment and are not afraid to call out insincerity. They hold us to account over purpose and delivering on strategy. They are embedded in our communities and are experienced in reaching selected groups with their oeuvre.

Internal champions are key to driving projects. However, they can whither without both CEO / board mandate and external guidance. Too often we see short cuts being requested to tell the answer. Seeking alignment on this basis is fraught with unnecessary risk. A discovery process is the prudent way forward.

The best results come from considerable outside scrutiny and a creative mind to navigate process. The greatest business community partnerships only become obvious after much concerted effort.

And the partnerships only become great after a deliberate process of embedding each into the other. This requires the steady hand of ongoing guidance, an ongoing test and learn mentality of parties and the fundamental commitment to hold true the Purpose of the partnership to pivot where required.

The zeitgeist is now. I am reminded of Matt Kenealy CE of Axon Computer Systems opining on delayed project start dates ‘you don’t catch up’. A start deferred is an opportunity lost. That loss is innovation, collaboration, economic and reputation.

InsightsBrian Steele