Let cre­ativ­ity be your guide in tur­bu­lent times

Finweek English Edition - - Advertorial -

Do you con­sider your­self a highly in­tu­itive and creative leader? Busi­ness leaders are rarely cel­e­brated for their abil­ity to take risks, their imagination or their po­ten­tial for in­no­va­tive think­ing. Cre­ativ­ity is con­sid­ered a laud­able trait in en­trepreneurs how­ever, par­tic­u­larly suc­cess­ful ones. As eco­nomic growth in a de­vel­op­ing econ­omy such as South Africa’s is of­ten de­pen­dent on en­trepreneur­ship, one must ask if cre­ativ­ity should be en­cour­aged across all lev­els of busi­ness?

Artists are char­ac­terised by their drive for in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity, as well as their abil­ity to look be­yond the ob­vi­ous; qual­i­ties that could pay div­i­dends for busi­ness leaders whose or­gan­i­sa­tions face an un­cer­tain fu­ture. Be­ing ex­posed to the arts opens the doors and win­dows of the mind and sheds new light on is­sues that may have seemed in­pen­e­tra­ble be­fore. To re­solve prob­lems and chal­lenges in busi­ness, it is im­por­tant to be able to see things in dif­fer­ent ways, which may in­clude step­ping away from com­mer­cial­ism.

One does not have to look far to dis­cover great artis­tic tal­ent that has made a suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion to busi­ness in South Africa, cre­at­ing nu­mer­ous jobs en route. The Car­rol Boyes brand has be­come in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised, with stores around South Africa and on­line, as well as in New York, Lon­don, Paris, Athens, Toronto, Ni­cosia and Jed­dah. Boyes and her artis­tic team cre­ate the pro­to­types for the new de­signs while the rest of the work­force at­tends to the ad­min­is­tra­tion, pol­ish­ing and qual­ity con­trol of all the prod­ucts be­fore they are fi­nally dis­patched around the world.

A well-known busi­ness­man who has taken the arts un­der his wing is Dick En­thoven, who has cre­ated an an­nual arts fes­ti­val on his wine es­tate, Spier, as well as Spier Con­tem­po­rary, an art com­pe­ti­tion that was launched this year, fill­ing the gap left by the Brett Keb­ble Art Awards. U-Car­men eKhayelit­sha, win­ner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Fes­ti­val, was spawned from Dim­pho Di Kopane’s stage ver­sion of Bizet’s Car­men that pre­miered dur­ing the Spier Arts Sum­mer Sea­son three years ago. Spier Films be­lieved so strongly in the project that, with Nando’s, the com­pany funded the award-winning film.

The Keiskamma Trust is a ven­ture that was founded by Carol Hofmeyr in the small East­ern Cape town of Ham­burg. Upon see­ing the poverty, high lev­els of HIV/Aids, il­lit­er­acy, un­em­ploy­ment and al­co­holism there, Hofmeyr set about im­prov­ing the skills of the lo­cal women, em­pow­er­ing them to cre­ate their own busi­ness, which pro­duces hand­made em­broi­dery. The Trust has grown to the ex­tent that one of the tapestries now hangs in the South African Houses of Par­lia­ment.

One of the best-known artists in the world is bet­ter known for the busi­ness he co-founded with his brother – Walt Dis­ney Pro­duc­tions. Dis­ney started his ca­reer as a graphic artist, but went on to cre­ate a mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar em­pire that is one of the largest me­dia and en­ter­tain­ment cor­po­ra­tions in the world.

It takes an open mind for busi­ness leaders to sur­round them­selves with creative peo­ple, but in­tro­duc­ing dif­fer­ent ways of think­ing to a busi­ness can lead to op­por­tu­ni­ties never be­fore dreamt of.

The Uni­ver­sity of Pre­to­ria’s Gor­don In­sti­tute of Busi­ness Sci­ence have taken this ad­vice to heart, and will host the GIBS Arts Ex­pe­ri­ence from 3 – 7 Novem­ber this year. This Ex­pe­ri­ence will fea­ture com­pelling new forms of art, pre­sented in sur­pris­ing places in un­pre­dictable ways, and will be de­signed to pro­voke new ways of think­ing.

“South African busi­ness is ex­tremely lively at present, where the ground it­self seems to be shift­ing. Dur­ing such pe­ri­ods of trans­for­ma­tion and un­cer­tainty, suc­cess­ful na­tions find creative so­lu­tions through per­sonal and so­cial in­no­va­tion. Art stim­u­lates this cre­ativ­ity, break­ing down rigid thought pat­terns and of­fer­ing new al­ter­na­tives to busi­ness prob­lems,” ex­plains Pro­fes­sor Nick Binedell, Di­rec­tor of GIBS.

An­other way in which GIBS as­sists busi­ness leaders to adapt to to­day’s rapidly chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment is through the Di­a­logue Cir­cle. The pro­grammes of the Di­a­logue Cir­cle utilise di­a­logue, ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing, field vis­its and guest speak­ers to ex­am­ine the so­cial, po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and cul­tural trans­for­ma­tion in our so­ci­ety. Par­tic­i­pants who at­tend Di­a­logue Cir­cle pro­grammes be­come bet­ter able to lead their in­sti­tu­tions through th­ese com­plex times.

Art is balm for the soul and food for the head. The next time you are sit­ting in what seems to be an in­ter­minable busi­ness meet­ing, let your­self take a leap into the un­known and un­lock your cre­ativ­ity. You never know where it may lead!

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