The Leader and The Manager: A Leading Innovation in Arts & Culture Conversation

Photo by Olivier Carré-Delisle via Flickr

We’ve just wrapped our first Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) Leading Innovation in Arts and Culture. This unique course was created by Dave Owens at Vanderbilt University and customized for the arts and culture sector by National Arts Strategies. This eight-week course, offered on the Coursera platform, brought more than 9,000 artists, arts administrators and cultural entrepreneurs from around the world together to discuss the specific constraints to creating good ideas in our field and to build strategies for successful innovation. This … [Read more...]

Governance in the 21st Century

photo: Theresa Remick

Editor's note: As part of our blog event for The Summit at Sundance, we have invited participants in The Chief Executive Program to frame each of our problems to solve. Here, Jean McLaughlin takes on the problem: Create the 21st century board. What would an ideal 21st century board look like? And, how might board members best add value? These are the questions I have been pondering for the past few days. In many ways I marvel at the productive, supportive, responsible and enthusiastic nature of the boards I have worked with. I know this … [Read more...]

On leadership: “What to Ask the Person in the Mirror,” Robert Kaplan

Professor Robert S. Kaplan (Harvard Business School) has written a book on leadership, management and managing oneself that is readable, practical and highly actionable. It is based on an earlier article by the same name that appeared in the Harvard Business Review. While written for a general audience, the content is equally applicable to those running nonprofit organizations, especially larger ones. Seekers won't find mystical language or anything revelatory in terms of conceptual frameworks. Rather, the emphases include the criticality of … [Read more...]

Creativity! Innovation! Right Brain! I’m sorry, am I making you uncomfortable? Or, why we desire but reject creative ideas.

The gents at Freakonomics point to a fascinating study - and paradox: The irony is that as a society, we’re constantly talking about how much we value creativity. And yet, the study implies that our minds are biased against it because of the very nature of its novelty. Going forward, perhaps it’s not that we need to get better at producing creative ideas, but at learning how to accept them. Freakonomics » Why We Desire But Reject Creative Ideas The Bias Against Creativity: Why People Desire But Reject Creative Ideas. (original study) … [Read more...]

Business has much to learn from the arts

A wry, brief paean to the arts and what the world of business has to learn from them. Many businesspeople, for their part, assume that artists are a bunch of pretentious wastrels. Bosses may stick a few modernist daubs on their boardroom walls. They may go on corporate jollies to the opera. They may even write the odd cheque to support their wives’ bearded friends. But they seldom take the arts seriously as a source of inspiration. Studying the arts can...help companies learn how to manage bright people. Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones of the … [Read more...]

Stop Blaming Your Culture

An article of interest on an-oft used whipping boy for failed change efforts. The authors argue one is most likely to succeed using an organization's existing culture to help change behaviors in the shorter-term. These behaviors can in turn change the culture in the longer run. When a new leader’s strategy puts the culture of a company at risk, the culture will trump the strategy, almost every time. There are good reasons for this. Every company’s identity — the body of capabilities and practices that distinguish it and make it effective — … [Read more...]

Rework

I have a tall stack of books at home, all of which I am in the process of reading (yes, I am one of those people). I choose to start and stop a book based on topic and sometimes the number of pages and size of type. Recently, I picked up one of the books in my stack – Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (the founders of 37 Signals who brought us Basecamp, Ruby on the Rails, and Backpack). This book encapsulates about five times its volume in management theory and it is fun to read. I read it cover to cover in a very short span … [Read more...]