In 2005 a special issue of the Journal of Business Strategy was published on arts-based learning for business (Vol. 26, No.5), co-edited by Ted Buswick and Harvey Seifter. Ted is head of the BCG History program at Boston Consulting Group, and also Executive-in-Residence for Leadership and the Arts in the Graduate School of Management at Clark University. Harvey is CEO of Seifter Associates and has done extensive work in the area of arts-based learning for business. Now, about five years later, a second special arts-themed issue of JBS has been released, with the same co-editors.
The Journal normally is available only by subscription, but now for a limited time this issue is available for free. Click on this link to the issue. When you enter the site use the following log-in information to get your free download of the content: Username: JBS2010; Password: emerald
In their "Editor's Note" Buswick and Seifter comment on how the past few years have seem a dramatic rise in the credibility and widespread application of arts-based learning in business, as well as a growing recognition in the business community that business competitiveness is increasingly fueled by creativity and innovation. They also note the disturbing trend of the last 18 months as the economy has been in turmoil, that resources for arts-based learning programs have become much scarcer. Nonprofits like Americans for the Arts have had to scale back on such programs that were expensive but not generating sufficient revenue, and businesses have been trimming training budgets, especially those - like arts-based training - targeting the longer-term benefits of creativity as opposed to shorter-term skills focused training programs.
The issue is filled with many valuable articles. In the interests of space I will only single out one: a succinct overview of arts-based learning in business by Nick Nissley, who is the Executive Director of Leadership Development at the Banff Centre in Banff Canada. This article alone really provides a great introduction to the issue and creates an excellent platform for the essays that follow.
Finally, for those in or near Philadelphia, don't miss "Cultivating a Creative Workforce" being presented by Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia on June 24th. This is a rare and special opportunity to hear Robert Redford (yes, THAT Bob Redford) talk about cultivating a culture of risk-taking, collaboration and creativity to achieve business success. Redford will be interviewed by Bob Lynch, CEO of Americans for the Arts. Registration information here. 8:30 breakfast, followed by program at 9-10:30 at Philadelphia Theatre Company. Here is a great article about Redford and business creativity from INC magazine a few years ago.