Is the MFA the new MBA?

MFA right

“COMPANIES ALL ACROSS AMERICA ARE STARTING TO SEE A CRITICAL TALENT GAP AS OLDER EMPLOYEES RETIRE. ARTS STUDENTS MAY NOT HAVE ALL THE TRADITIONAL SKILLS, BUT THEY HAVE THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE: CREATIVITY.”

You may have seen this article floating around on social media.  Here are some key points, but I encourage you to read the full article!  What a perfect response to anyone who sees art as a hobby.  Use this article as a way to explain why the skills of an artist go beyond  the art form and are key to the growth of business in our time.  It’s always great to have language on hand when our value is questioned time and time again.

“Consider this: Today’s contingent economy has people moving constantly from one job to another, one type of work to another, one industry to a different industry. In fact, on average, a person between the ages of 25 and 45 will hold 11 different jobs in their lifetime. Thirty percent of us will work in more than 15 different jobs over the course of our careers.

Organizations far and wide—perhaps even yours—will compete intensely for workers who are adaptable, resourceful, and can quickly learn and apply new skills to a variety of challenges. Where can you find such workers?

One answer runs counter to much conventional wisdom: Ask an artist.”

“Is art school the next B-school? Hardly, though artists often possess the skills and temperament that business leaders regularly say are in short supply: creativity, resiliency, flexibility, high tolerance for risk and ambiguity, as well as the courage to fail.”

Ways to engage artists in the workplace:

  •  Ask them to explicitly think about puzzles using their artistic hat/lens. Invite a local theater group to work with employees on improvisation exercises to free up their creative juices. Research has shown that when people engage in improv they later generate more creative ideas to a range of issues and challenges.
  • Figure out how to incorporate critical feedback into an ongoing process of improvement and innovation. Ask an artist to come in and run a “critical feedback” workshop for employees.
  • Have an artist facilitate a workshop where a creative task is emergent, shifting, and where new information requires adjustments and negotiation.

“Many people see artists as shamans, dreamers, outsiders, and rebels. In reality, the artist is a builder, an engineer, a research analyst, a human relations expert, a project manager, a communications specialist, and a salesman. The artist is all of those and more—combined with the imagination of an inventor and the courage of an explorer. Not a bad set of talents for any business challenged to innovate in a world of volatility, uncertainty, and change.”

The full article, “Is an MFA and new MBA?” by Steven Tepper can be found here.

MFA Mondays

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.