Any young arts administrator whose attempts at innovation are thwarted by change-averse leaders should read this article: “What Stops Managers from Looking to Other Industries for Inspiration.”
The Harvard Business Journal article does a great job of describing why organizations insulate themselves from external influences, and why it’s so hard for internal change agents to obtain and exploit useful information from outside their industry bubbles.
Fortunately, the article also offers pragmatic advice for overcoming these obstacles and finding ways to introduce productive innovations.
The arts belong to a business category where customers are asked to secure access (seats, tickets, admissions) to something that takes place outside the home. This means there is a natural kinship between the arts and a broad variety of businesses that do similar things: theme parks, attractions, sports venues, popular entertainment providers, special events & festivals, travel destinations, travel service providers, tour operators, etc. All of these businesses specialize in getting customers to come out and do something, and then selling them the access they’ll need to do it.
And they all offer opportunities for the arts to learn about and embrace new ways of getting customers to participate, and new ways to sell them the tickets or admissions they’ll need to secure their access.
This pandemic has made innovation more important than ever before. It’s time for young, smart, well-educated arts managers to infuse their organizations with fresh knowledge from outside sources, and to circumvent the efforts of well-meaning but inert leaders to stop them.
Thanks to Artsjournal.com for including this article in their excellent roundup.