What entrepreneurs can learn from artists?

fortuneLike art, true innovation has the potential to make our lives better. It connects and reconnects us with deeply held truths and fundamental human desires; meets complexity with simple, elegant solutions; and rewards risk-taking and vulnerability.

Andy Warhol knew it all along: “Good business is the best art.” And lately, a number of business thinkers and leaders have begun to embrace the arts, not as an escapist notion, a parallel world after office hours, or a creative asset, but as an integral part of business — from the management team to operations to customer service.

John Maeda, the president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and author of the book Redesigning Leadership, predicts that artists will emerge as the new business leaders and cites RISD graduates Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky, co-founders of Airbnb, as prominent examples. The author William Deresiewicz heralds reading as the most important task of any leader. John Coleman makes a compelling case for the role of poetry in business. Intel (INTC) named pop musician will.i.am as director of creative innovation. The World Economic Forum has been inviting arts and cultural leaders to its events for several years and this year added the ‘Role of the Arts’ to its Network of Global Agenda Councils.

Indeed, the “art” of business has become more important as the “science” grows ubiquitous. As Big Data and sophisticated analytical tools allow us to make our processes more efficient, intuition and creativity are fast becoming the only differentiating factors among competitors. Like any “soft asset,” these qualities cannot be exploited, only explored. And like artists, innovators must cultivate creative habits to see the world afresh and create something new.

How do artists think and behave?

Click here to see the 12 traits that any individual who aspires to make his or her mark on the world should emulate.

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