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The Art of Innovation : HR Inner Circle 2017


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Changing lives for the better, by exploring and applying the creative process to our work.

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The Art of Innovation : HR Inner Circle 2017

  1. 1. The Art of Innovation Changing lives for the better, by exploring and applying the creative process HR Inner Circle : June 2017 Doug Shaw
  2. 2. The Art of Innovation • The Art of Innovation is an ongoing project designed to help change lives for the better, through the exploration and application of the creative process and creative practice. • The project is currently run by three artists, Doug Shaw, Stephanie Barnes and Phil Dodson, and our work gently challenges the status quo, and encourages people to do things differently. This work is currently being supported by Herman Miller and BDG. We are truly grateful for the support.
  3. 3. Does Creativity Matter?
  4. 4. Does Creativity Matter? • IBM interviewed 1,500 CEOs in the public and private sectors across 60 nations. 60% of the respondents believed creativity is the most important quality to have in business, followed by integrity, and global thinking. • PWC interviewed 1,379 CEOs, almost a quarter see innovation as their top priority in the coming year. The challenge they face is how to cultivate innovation.
  5. 5. Where Do Good Ideas Come From?
  6. 6. Where Do Good Ideas Come From? • These books offer some useful answers – though in truth what we’re looking at here are tools designed to help extract, and if you are really fortunate, apply those good ideas. • The good ideas themselves, they come from you, and you, and you. They come from your colleagues too.
  7. 7. Yin Meets Yang
  8. 8. Yin Meets Yang • If good ideas come from you, and you, and you, then why aren’t there more of them around? Why is it that the world of work is crying out for creativity and innovation, but in practice it is lacking? Why do you think that is? • Here are a few thoughts drawn from some work I did with Joe Gerstandt and a group of over 100 HR professionals in Chicago in 2014 • ‘We’re too busy’ ‘It’s too risky’ ‘We’re not encouraged to be creative’ ‘The culture is coercive/conformist’ ‘There’s a gap in what we say and what we do’ ‘ It’s perceived to be inefficient’ • Many of you will be familiar with this symbol. Yin and yang, dark and bright. The symbol is intended to show how differences are necessary in order to create one whole entity. For me – this is a powerful symbol to illustrate us, and what it means to be human. It is part of the solution, and part of the problem.
  9. 9. The Certainty Epidemic
  10. 10. The Certainty Epidemic • We are schooled in certainty. All too often something has to be right or wrong, and whilst I readily agree that is very handy at times, it is equally harmful at others. I take issue with this either or/binary approach, part of creativity is about being open to the possibilities. Part of why we use art in our work is because it invites inquiry. Its subjective nature helps us let go of our addiction to certainty.
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  12. 12. Overcome Fear : Start Small, Draw For The Bin We get hung up on believing our work is not good enough. Most of the time, we are not here to create Masterpieces, we are here to stretch our creative muscles. Relax, and sketch yourself into existence. Draw for the bin - not The Royal Academy.
  13. 13. Ebb and Flow Creativity isn’t a chaotic force you just switch on. It ebbs and flows according to the environment and attitude around you. What are the levers and dials you need to be aware of and are able to adjust? Creativity borne of constraint - Necessity is the mother of invention. ‘Creativity is subtraction - Choose what to leave out’. Steal Like An Artist - Austin Kleon ‘Drawing is about mark making - Try to use only the marks you need’. 101 Things to Learn in Art School - Kit White
  14. 14. Show Your Work • ‘A lot of people are so used to seeing just the outcome of the work. They never see the side of the work you go through to produce the outcome.’ Michael Jackson • Start something • Experiment • Share it • Learn as you go
  15. 15. Be Adaptive Be adaptive – like Henri Matisse was with his cutouts. What happens when we play with the running order – add things – remove things – switch things around. What is on the critical path and what isn’t?
  16. 16. An HR Vision for The Future of Work
  17. 17. Now What? • Now we have some useful basic pointers, what next? This is where we differentiate the folks who are not serious about doing things differently, from those who are. The pointers I shared with you, though useful, are nothing without persistence and effort. • Here’s a look at persistence and effort, and joy too, through the lens of a community art project.
  18. 18. The Free Art Project • In April 2016 I began to make art and give it away in my local community of Wallington and Carshalton. I started this project so I might learn more about letting go, more about focus, and more about…well who knows? That’s the beauty of deciding to do something creative, you are accepting being open to the possibilities. • Week 1 – key decision – on the way to London, I opted instead to leave the art locally. When I returned to Wallington, the art was still there, I lost confidence and took it home. Carole encouraged me to persist. • Week 8 – I was caught in the act of hiding the art and encouraged to keep going. • Mid June – a local blogger picked up the story • Week 16 – My first work made abroad, titled ‘Lost in Spain’ • Week 20 – local paper covered the story and that week’s free art, ‘Passing Strangers’, ended up in Simsbury, Connecticut • Week 21 – ITV news covered the project…and on it goes.
  19. 19. The Free Art Project • The project is now in its 62nd week and so far I’ve made and given away over 85 original art works. The connections made with my work, my artistic practice, and with the community are invaluable. Some of the people in my home town know each other better, in part thanks to the art. I’ve been fortunate to receive a runner up and a first place in our 2016 community awards, and the project has recently been awarded a small grant from Arts Network Sutton to help fund further experimentation. • It makes an impact with individuals too. • “Hi. It wasn't till I found this today that I really thought about what you do. I've always looked at the art and always thought that you are a great guy to have had this idea. However, today meant so much to me. I'm going through some not great things at the moment including questioning my faith so to be drawn back to my church, to be enticed out of my house and to find such a beautiful piece and feel that someone had actually done something for me, that I had received some kindness reduced me to tears but also made me happy. Keep going. What you do is amazing on so many levels.”
  20. 20. There’s A Lot of Love Around This Project
  21. 21. To Summarise…
  22. 22. To Summarise… • Creativity and innovation, it matters. I’ve shared a few pointers about how to get started. • To build on that… We need curiosity – I believe you have that quality – you’re part of this network and you are here today. We need resilience. We need persistence. • In return, we get, new ideas, a sense of purpose, community connectedness, inward investment, joy, and love. You want more? Fine – put more effort in  • And remember, this project was started by me and others like me. I’m just an ordinary person, persisting with an ordinary idea. If I can do it, so can you.
  23. 23. When you want to know more… • Find me on Twitter @dougshaw1 • Find me on Instagram @dougshaw • Find me on LinkedIn • Read my blog at • View my art at • email me at