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Innovation Through Dumpster Diving?

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In an attempt to deal with today’s complex and confusing economical

demands, more and more corporations are seeking collaborations with

artists. They want to use the artists’ creative mindsets and working methods

to their benefit – stimulate innovative and creative capacity within the

company (Guillet de Monthoux, Sjöstrand, 2003), create fiscal value and an

increased competitiveness. So-called artistic interventions can come in many

forms and a lot of theoretical texts have been published about these

ventures. However, a gap between theory and practise exists and it remains

questionable if the writings reflect the real world or are primarily theoretical

concepts sometimes focused on positive outcomes alone. More case studies

are needed in order to describe effects, impact and relevance of artistic

interventions in industrial settings because it remains questionable if they can

deliver concrete benefits for the companies – or if they even should. This

investigative research project is an ambition to minimize this gap through the

empirical research that is behind this paper and contributes with an actual

case to this field. The paper highlights what happens if artistic interventions

are laid out as temporary, independent provocations. In this case, a project

group of a large engineering company was confronted with ‘dumpster diving’

as a type of provocation initiated by an artist. As a main conclusion of this

essay I discuss the term ‘artistic provocation’ – a variation of artistic

intervention. Artistic provocations are short-term activities provoking

participants by confronting them with unorthodox worlds. Experiencing these

worlds with all senses conveys an understanding on different levels. This

arguably leads to a more open attitude and positively influences a learning

process, which seems to be indispensable regarding long-term creativity and

innovation on workplaces.



PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2014


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