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Art Thinking

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Art Thinking refers to an approach proposing the application of artistic practices to entrepreneurship and management. This emerging global discipline is based on collective dynamics to generate shifted vision of complex problems to build innovative and creative solutions.

Art applied to the business world[edit]

To help companies facing innovation and change challenges, researchers like Jörg Reckhenrich,[1][page needed] Amy Whitaker[2] or Sylvain Bureau[3] have developed a methodology applied to entrepreneurship based on artists practices. As creativity is inherent to Arts, they have analysed and conceptualized the ways to stimulate creativity states and make it applicable to the business world.

Amongst all the versions of Art Thinking there is an identified convergence for the importance of sharing and discussing the problematic as a preliminary. The innovative idea is uncertain, it can be questioned, rejected or performed. It might pop-up at any time in any situation. Amy Whitaker insists particularly on the free-of-purpose nature of the method, it is impossible to anticipate the value nor the impact of the idea before it becomes applicable concretely. Instead of going from point A to a known point B, a deep understanding of A is requested prior to invent B.[4] Art Thinking is an invitation to question reality from a new angle by forgetting certainty and prejudices.

From Art Thinking to "creative leadership"[edit]

Coming from both Arts world and Business world,[5] Jörg Reckenrich spent 15 years working for companies to deploy Art Thinking. His method can be summarized as follows :

  • Inspiration: allows the idea emerging
  • Intuition : brings conviction that the idea is right
  • Imagination : enables to share the idea with others

Sharing and dialogue are central – Jörg Reckhenrich teaches his method by inviting entrepreneurs to discuss about abstract artworks leading to valuable exchanges.[6] The dialogue allows people to assess their own "creative capabilities", enabling them to create and innovate in their field of activity.

Art Thinking claims itself to be a method for developing " creative leadership " within companies[7] through 4 steps :

  • Fully master a complex problem
  • Be able to share this idea
  • Fix and plant the idea
  • Make it match to public and time.

Founded in 2013, the Dendropolis Collective is a pool of researchers,[8] facilitators, and artists[9] They apply an immersive method for organisations in which the steps of artistic creation are analysed and transposed to accelerate innovative projects. Built on the concept of Open innovation and the pursuit of the Flow state, described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Art Thinking according to Dendropolis is a holistic tool to transform projects into artworks and doing so, impacting all its dimensions (collaboration, communication, marketing, strategy...). From the analysis of artworks and collaborative artistic practices, the innovative project is built like a significative piece of art.

Art Thinking as a method to create improbable with certainty[edit]

Art Thinking has been conceptualized by Sylvain Bureau, director of Institut Jean-Baptiste Say[10] of ESCP Europe, as a method likely to produce improbable with certainty. He defines "improbable" as a non-predictable and low probability situation.[6] This agile method at the crossing of Arts and entrepreneurship is taught during the Improbable seminar created with the French artist Pierre Tectin in 2009. The seminar stakes[11] are : to learn a creativity method to make the improbable occurs and to create a subversive artwork questioning status quo and certainty.

The method is structured around 6 practices:[12]

  • Give : Commit ourselves without any known incomes
  • Take : "steal" ideas, concepts, symbols, objects from context A to feed context B
  • Destroy : Put down our own beliefs, social conventions and creations
  • Wander : Loose ourselves, do things without purposes
  • Dialog : Exchange to make our creation evolve
  • Expose : Design a setting for the artwork

Today, Art Thinking is taught globally[13] to students[14] and entrepreneurs in cultural institutions like the Galerie Papillon, the Centre Pompidou's Ecole Pro or the Paris Gallery Weekend.


  1. Anderson, Jamie; Martin, Kupp (2011). The fine art of success : how learning great art can create great business. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781119208822. OCLC 747770664. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  2. Amy, Whitaker. Art thinking : how to carve out creative space in a world of schedules, budgets, and bosses. ISBN 9780062358271. OCLC 931476670. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. "Biographie de Sylvain Bureau". ESCP Europe.
  4. TEDx Talks (2017-11-28). "Art Thinking and Innovating - Wouldn't It Be Cool If? | Amy Whitaker | TEDxTarrytown". Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  5. "Jörg Reckhenrich". theworldweworkin.com. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Reckhenrich, Jörg; Furu, Patrick (2016). "Creative Leadership Shaping complex challenges creatively". Retrieved 2019-03-20 – via ResearchGate.
  7. TEDx Talks (2011-06-29). "TEDxHamburg - Jörg Reckhenrich - "The Power of Art Thinking"". Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  8. Viala, Laurie (2004). "Construction d'un visuel littéraire et idéologique chez Louis-Ferdinand Céline: des images énonçantes à l'énonciation imageante". Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  9. .Viala, Laurie (2012). "L'illustration, une ouverture dans la page vers des ailleurs du texte : étude de l'adaptation de Louis-Ferdinand Céline par Jacques Tardi" [The illustration, an opening in the page to elsewhere of the text: study of the adaptation of Louis-Ferdinand Céline by Jacques Tardi]. Le livre et ses espaces [The book and its spaces] (in français). Presses universitaires de Paris Nanterre. p. 231–255. ISBN 9782821826915. Retrieved 2019-04-09. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  10. "Jean-Baptiste Say Institute, ESCP Europe – EY - BNP Paribas". sayinstitute.eu. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  11. modcalifornien, Auteur (2018-11-29). "L'Art Thinking, créer de l'improbable avec certitude". modcalifornien (in français). Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  12. "La méthode Art Thinking".
  13. "アートシンキングとは?「良い子のままじゃ、イノベーションなんか生まれない」 不確実性の時代を突破するフレームワーク". ハフポスト (in 日本語). 2018-08-16. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  14. Hamladji, Samir (2017-03-14). "Sylvain Bureau (ESCP Europe) : " Tout Entrepreneur Transforme Le Réel "". Forbes France (in français). Retrieved 2019-03-20.

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