Dr Andersen is emphatic this month about Canada’s poor economic growth prospects over the next couple of years. The message is that the current approach isn’t working – we’re still exporting to the same poorly-performing countries, productivity is relatively stagnant and overall economic growth is limited by ho-hum performance from both export-focused businesses and those in the domestic market. Given recent discussion on creativity, perhaps it’s time leaders consider adding artists and designers to their organizations to imbue fresh perspective into a well-worn debate.
To overcome stagnation in the Canadian economy, non-traditional means of growth may need to be considered. An interesting series of articles produced by the Globe and Mail (aptly titled The Creativity Gap) examine how creative thinking can be a welcome addition to conventional business environments. Along with their ability to separate themselves from their work and to view criticism as a catalyst for growth, artists and designers learn to effectively translate abstract ideas and disrupt the status quo. They challenge themselves to observe the world in a different light and imagine what could be rather than what is. As John Semple, Chief Surgeon at Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital (and art school graduate) says, “A training in art is really a training in observation. It teaches you how to be aware and how to see.”
The pressure is once again on Canada to find its competitive edge in a tough market. In times of austerity, perhaps what’s needed is a bit of creative thinking.
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Globe and Mail’s ‘The Creativity Gap’ series of articles:
Why artists in the c-suite can drive business
When your surgeon has an art-school diploma on the wall
How budget cuts could kick-start creativity in the public sector
U of T president counters ‘self-taught’ innovator genius myth
What Chief Executives Really Want