This article is part 8 of a series exploring arts and culture in knowledge management.
Implementing arts-based interventions (ABIs) in organisations goes against everything we have been taught. We have been taught to be analytical, logical, rational, and efficient in our work. This means we don’t have time for games and “fooling around”, even if that would make us more effective and ultimately more efficient. We must be serious and so the implementation of ABIs which are playful and fun, and act as catalysts for team building, communication, collaboration, innovation, sustainability, culture change, and all the other things that are the documented benefits of ABIs, is a paradox and unreconcilable with the seriousness of the workplace.
At least that’s what most of us believe because we look at things as an either/or rather than a both/and situation.
But what if that’s not true?
What if it’s not an either/or situation? What if it’s a both/and situation?
We can be serious and be playful and still be efficient and effective, possibly more-so, especially in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous world?
I have a case study1 documenting an organisation that struggled over a problem for years coming together in studio for a week and solving the problem. I’ve had people who struggled had been struggling with a problem for months solve it by doing a 5-minute scribble drawing.
ABIs facilitate diffuse thinking and they open up the possibility for conversations that wouldn’t happen otherwise. Breaking down barriers, insecurities, and uncertainties and replacing them with curiosity and open-mindedness.
Introducing arts-based interventions is a way to do that to improve collaboration, teamwork, problem solving, sustainability, and improve the way we work.
Just like we’ve relearned what is good for us to eat: 30 years ago, it was all about low fat and so our food was re-engineered to remove the fat, replacing it in many cases with sugar and chemicals. Now we know that sugar is even worse than fat. And fat, in fact, isn’t bad at all in moderation and so we’re learning to rethink about what we eat and how we approach food. Going back to natural items, limiting sugar and moderating fats. If we can relearn how we’re eating, we can relearn how we’re working.
What do you think?
Article source: First published on LinkedIn, republished by permission.
Header image source: 愚木混株 cdd20 on Unsplash.
- Barnes, S. (2021). Radical knowledge management: using lessons learned from artists to create sustainable workplaces. Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence, 4, 598807. ↩
- Barnes, S. (2022). Introduction to radical knowledge management: Making knowledge management sustainable. Business Information Review, 39(1), 32-35. ↩