How to Improve Creativity by Inspiration from Art
The most effective way to improve empathy and emotional intelligence is by analyzing artworks and trying to understand the emotions depicted by the artists involved. As novelist and critic Marcel Proust said, “Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and know what another person sees.” In particular, spending the time to analyze and understand art pieces by expressionist painters such as Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Mark Rothko, and Wassily Kandinsky; and surrealist painters such as Joan Miró, Salvador Dali, Giorgio de Chirico, and René Magritte enhances one’s ability to feel other people’s emotions and understand the inner workings of their subconscious.
As French classical composer Maurice Ravel said, “We should always remember that sensitiveness and emotion constitute the real content of a work of art.” However, the majority of companies that succeed in understanding real customer needs still have difficulty overcoming the second challenge, which is finding “creative” solutions to fulfill those needs. Being creative is a competency that enables people to look at things from various viewpoints and perspectives, leading to different types of originality. Originality is basically producing something that is significantly different from what has been created or seen in the past. Throughout history, art has always been the most viable expression of human creativity. Thus, the “magic” step that companies can take in order to be more creative and produce more original products is to integrate art into their DNA and embed artistic perspectives in their company culture. By doing so, they can replace shallow, organizational mind-sets with deeper ones, resulting in new and different perceptions and creative empowerment.
Many of the cofounders and CEOs of the world’s most innovative companies have been liberal arts graduates who integrated this area with business and technology, thus leading their companies to create innovative products. For instance, Norio Ohga, the former president and chairman of Sony Corporation and the inventor of the CD, was a graduate of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Steve Jobs also took many liberal arts courses and once said, “It is technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities that yields the results that make our hearts sing.”
Ultimately, creativity is a skill that is best attained during childhood. It has been proven that introducing liberal arts to children at an early age definitely enhances their creative capacity. However, most countries’ educational systems lack this dimension. Children usually do not have a chance to integrate creativity and analytical skills unless they are as fortunate as Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. Her father is an engineer, and her mother is an art teacher, so she has always recognized that “art and engineering aren’t that different.” She said, “Engineering that isn’t beautiful has its drawbacks, and art that isn’t engineered is also less interesting.” Thus, people missing this opportunity in childhood should be at least introduced to liberal arts at later stages of their lives. With this aim in mind, art fairs exhibiting important artworks of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries are organized in Silicon Valley in collaboration with the world’s most respected galleries and art institutions.
As French novelist and critic Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Silicon Valley employees and entrepreneurs are expected to see the world with these new eyes and create innovative business and technology solutions.