Wednesday, 31 March 2010

It’s an arty farty world

I was very kindly invited to speak to a group of Art and Culture fundraiser about the Global recession which surprised me, as I was struggling to understand how a Philistine like me could add any value to works of great beauty and joy.

I was very surprised when they asked me to provide some link between Art and Culture and business. Now, being Irish, the spoken word to me is a thing of great beauty, but I did struggle on how I would align this to monuments, to human creativity, culture and unbelievable works of art. As I stood before the audience trying to anchor my presentation in anything that would be meaningful, it did occur to me that art and culture represent to me passion, energy, diversity, edginess, creativity, innovation, risk, trust, inspiration, engagement and culture.

I was then struck by the thought: this is what we expect of our business leaders, and perhaps we have already got the knowledge. One of the most universal craving of our time is a hunger for compelling and creative leadership. The crisis of leadership today is the mediocrity or irresponsibility of so many of those in power, and their total lack of self awareness, thirst for change, with the innovation and creativity to achieve real and lasting change. The fundamental crisis underlying mediocrity is intellectual.... Without a powerful understanding of arts and culture, we lack many of the fundamentals of what is needed in great leadership. I believe that the arts can teach us a greater appreciation of who we are, and of how we can shape the world around us. To those who educated and enlightened me, I thank them for listening, and I can only hope their enlightenment can be my education.

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