Want to be more innovative at work? Go to an art gallery …

I’ve spent several months researching and making links between creativity, in an artistic sense, and innovation in the workplace. And that link isn’t as tenuous as you might think.

Here are three things that great artists have done, which can in principle form the basis of creative techniques at work (and which form part of my ‘Lightbulb’ creativity and innovation programme).



The father of modern art, Cezanne broke things down into their simplest form. In terms of shapes, this for him meant the sphere, the cone and the cylinder.

In essence, he’d look at a landscape (Mont St Victoire, for example) and distil it down to its essentials.

The point is this: what happens if you take your company’s products and services and distil them down to their essence? What does that leave you with, and how can you use the same ‘essences’ to develop new products and services in your portfolio?




       Da Vinci

Without a doubt, Da Vinci was a genius.

Part of what made him so was his insatiable curiosity about EVERYTHING. He did not limit himself to any one discipline, but looked to explore them all, and in doing so developed ideas and techniques that were years ahead of his time.

In the workplace, look outside your immediate discipline for insights, inspiration and ideas. Some of the best business innovations have come from someone’s ability to cross-pollinate ideas and practices from an entirely different sector or area.



It took me a while to get to grips with George Braque and cubism, until a friend pointed out that (like many of the great artists) he wasn’t merely trying to paint what something looked like. In his case, he was taking an object and breaking it into tiny pieces and reassembling it, or looking at it from every angle at once.

How might changing YOUR perspective lead to the creation of something new? How might looking at a market need, a business opportunity, or even an existing product, change or develop it by breaking it up (metaphorically) and reassembling it, or by looking at it from different angles?


One of the biggest mistakes that companies and individuals make is to try to create something new from the status quo: to inch beyond where they already are, using the same thought processes and methods that they’ve always used.


True innovation requires creativity. And, as a starting point, the arts have all the answers on the question of ‘how to’ – it’s simply a question of knowing how to turn artistic practice into business benefit.


For more inspiring information on using the arts in training on leadership, change management and creative thinking, contact me at www.yaraconsulting.com


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