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Looking for New Hires for Your Big Project? Hire an Artist, not an MBA...

October 30, 2014 | By: Blessing       Cutting Edge
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How Artistic Talent and Creativity
is a Priority for New Recruits

image by Sarah                                          creative commons attribution CC2.0

Most organizations are expecting an unprecedented brain drain in the future as projections of younger workers entering the workforce as long-term employees are feared to be less than what is needed for good companies to stay competitive.  Many organizations will try to retain older workers with keen skills.  But this will only tide them for so long.  Where will companies find enough fresh blood with the skills required for success?

Now that people are more mobile with jobs and that job security isn't a priority among younger workers as opposed to finding the job they love.  For this generation, skilled people are moving constantly from one career choice to another to suit what they feel will be better time spent, from one job to another within various work environments.  Where will employers find good people who are adaptable, resourceful, and can quickly learn and apply new skills to work.  Who will you hire?

The one person, underrated for so long but now considered to be a diamond in the rough for today's workplace is:  The Artist.

Artists or more specifically Art School grads are more adaptable and resourceful than any other hiree off the street, given the same paper qualifications.  Most Arts graduates already hold more than two jobs at once, some even three.  The more astute Arts graduates are weaned on critical thinking, creativity, and the ability to work with others while in school and use this training on a regular basis in their current work.  Arts graduates are like gamefowl champions, you can match them with any challenge and they are bred from school and their environment to be able to man up and be creative and produce in dire staits.

Some may argue that some college degrees are weightier than others, but this misses the point when the rapid changes in this generation's business battlefield and creative economy require more than just set skills or strictly defined proficiencies and specializations.  IBM confirms this redirection in priorities and skill valuation from a global study of more than 1,500 CEOs from 60 countries and 33 industries:  No other skill is more crucial for success than creativity according to the top business leaders.

An Art School Grad over a Business Degree Holder?

Art school grads will not necessarily replace MBAs in the same functional capacity any time soon.  

But the best of Art School dudebros and gals are already tuned with skills for creativity, resiliency, flexibility, high tolerance for risk and ambiguity, as well as the courage to fail.  These are all traits, skills and attitudes that few other worker types possess in the same package.   

If you are a business hiring off a pool of job applicants, or creating an environment where your current team can learn creative skills, here are  some ideas to consider:

Integrate the Craft of the Arts into the Job

The arts are not just an aesthetic hobby.  Employees trained in the arts can use creative skills developed from film projects, music recording processes, or  storytelling illustrations and apply a very unique solution to the types of puzzles they will face in your company.

Arts-trained employees don't leave their creativity at school when they work in any non-art firm or organization.  If you ask them to use their artistic mindset to create better solutions to a challenge, they usually make better plans and innovations than someone trained with rote management procedures.  Research has shown that when people improvise solutions, they later generate more creative ideas spontaneously to a range of issues and challenges.  You solve problems faster.

Make Risky Ideas a Creative Opportunity

Most other worker types regard failure as a costly mistake that may be a red mark like failing a test.  But among artist types, taking risks allows for more creative solutions than possible with pre-defined rote methods of problem solving.  Encourage members of your team to try to stretch their comfort zone and take calculated risks.  Create a source for 'proofreading' any ongoing process of improvement and innovation, so that your team won't overextend into the redline.  Ask someone with design experience to assist your team in "rapid prototyping" as a way to audition new ideas.

FilmProductionRoles Wikispaces                 creative commons CC-3.0

Ambiguous Need not be 'Lost in Translation'

In the old school of doing things, tasks were pre-defined and expectations clearly outlined.  But in a creative environment, your team needs to be able to deal with free-flowing puzzle solving.  In undefined problem solving situations, teams need to learn how to start a process or a task without knowing what the outcome will be.   Artists and creative writers or storytellers are great at handling team workshops where creative projects start from a 'garage', fork into different possibilities, and when new ideas and options are stumbled upon along the creative process the team uses this as a flexible guide for making adjustments and prepare for outcomes.  Getting this work environment will help you get better results than pre-defined expectations.

Former art students have many of the skills and habits necessary to navigate a circuitous career.   As volatile as the creative economy is, businesses require constant reinvention and "retooling" to stay alive in a business environment that values innovation.

Most employers might see artists as just the stereotype or the cliche:  self-absorbed shamans, starving dreamers, anti-social outsiders, and nonconformist rebels. 

In reality, the best art school graduates are some of the most creative prototype engineers, intense research analysts, focused content designer and marketer, resilient enough to deal with people, can head a project like a pro, convey messages more effectively, and close a deal like no other---all these skills put together in one amazing individual.  And more—they are imaginative and have the gall to explore unusual solutions that turn out just fine and better than expected always.

Would you rather hire a specialized drone?


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