Earlier this month I attended a thought provoking talk on the connection between creativity in the arts, innovation and entrepreneurship. The occasion for the talk was the April meeting of the Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (IEI), which featured as its speaker Joe Bankoff, a former lawyer with King & Spalding in Atlanta and now the CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center. Bankoff made a strong case for the relevance and necessity for arts programs in our schools and within a given community as a key foundational element for an innovative business environment.
Bankoff posited that the secret ingredient to innovation was a diverse group of people – in a broad general sense and not in a “politically correct” sense of diversity — working together on some problem or undertaking. This process of actually working with and having to depend on others is a learned process and a foundation in the arts (of whatever sort) teaches individuals the necessary respect for the abilities of others, which is critical when working in groups.
The IEI has been the labor of relentless and good natured curiosity by its chief proponent, Mike Vollmer, whom I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with on various projects over the years. It is easy to appreciate the plain spoken enthusiasm that Mike brings to the mission of the IEI. As is typified by Bankoff’s talk and so many of the IEI’s programs, the IEI makes a solid contribution to the ongoing knowledge sharing dialog among those interested in issues related to innovation and entrepreneurship.
Link to Institute for Enterprise and Innovation: www.iei-inc.org