As I’ve been working on a pedagogical approach for emerging arts entrepreneurs, I’ve immersed myself in literature and resources on creative thinking and creative problem solving. What keeps striking me is the stark difference between creativity as applied in the development of complex ideas and the creative process in the making of art. The former lends itself, at least to a great degree, to techniques, processes and formulae, while the making of art does not. One is rational, the other un-rational.
When emerging arts entrepreneurs are involved in the creative process associated with entrepreneurship, their first impulse would understandably be rooted in their artistic experience. This explains why they are so frequently wedded to their ideas, as they (the ideas) come out from their personal experience. It also explains why young arts entrepreneurs are frequently reluctant to have their ideas subjected to market-testing and feasibility studies. To them, it’s just too personal. Traditional entrepreneurs appear to me to specifically enjoy this experience, and often discover entirely new ideas and solutions during the process.
So, I would think the following principles might be applied to finding first steps to exploit the potential of emerging arts entrepreneurs.
1. Teach them the difference between what they do as part of their craft and how entrepreneurs in other fields create and build their ideas.
2. Ask them to maximize, not diminish their creative/artistic abilities.
3. Ask them to share their ideas with others early in the creative process, and/or
4. Ask them to give their idea to another person for processing, and/or
5. Ask them to transform their idea as a result of different conditions, and/or
6. Ask them to abstract their idea to larger and larger spaces and populations, etc.
Of course the challenge here is how to do this in actual practice. Because I come out of the arts myself, I must keep reminding myself that entrepreneurship looks to the creation of a venture or enterprise that can live in this world, not a timeless work of art. What is dictated is certain pragmatism, recognition of market conditions and realities. The purpose of giving your ideas to others comes out of this pragmatism, and the need to imagine the idea as an entity that has life.
In future posts, I will be more specific by citing actual student ideas and exercises I have used to help them get from ideas from their artistic selves to those viable as entities.
Deep thanks to Tina Seelig’s InGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity, an amazing book that addresses so many of these issues.