Emerging Ideas: Seeking and Celebrating the Spark of Innovation

Posted by Ebony McKinney, Jul 25, 2011 1 comment

Welcome to the Emerging Ideas: Seeking and Celebrating the Spark of Innovation blog salon. This Salon is part of a larger effort on the part of the Emerging Leaders Council to help Americans for the Arts and the field at-large learn from the best and brightest thinkers and doers in communities around the country.

In January, we decided to initiate a year-long research project by asking, “What lessons can the rest of the field learn or take away from novel, under-the-radar, and locally-based ideas, projects or approaches to old problems?”

We were looking for great examples of innovative, on-the-ground projects or initiatives that deserve wider attention because of their potential to serve as a model for the rest of us.

Hopefully many of you were able to attend our Idea Lab at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in San Diego this year. Several of this salon’s bloggers were gathered in conversation there.

This fall, our committee will present a selection of in-depth profiles on some of the innovative ideas, projects and themes we’ve uncovered throughout the year. This week’s salon is an effort to expand and frame that conversation.

Representing this week are arts groups experimenting with exciting new business models, as well as artists engaging with the broader (non-arts) community in creative ways. There are also arts producers and entrepreneurs experimenting with new technologies that have the potential to change how artists do their work or with a programming strategy that is reaching radically different or underserved audiences.

We specifically looked for two types of writers:

•    First, the artist/producer/entrepreneur: someone who is realizing the development of a new enterprise or idea by leveraging talent, harnessing resources, pioneering change, and perhaps creating wealth (economic, cultural, etc.).

•    Second, the finder/curator: one who is specifically tasked, through either his/her job or passion, with uncovering new voices and bringing them to the attention of others.
Our hope is that the conversation is as much about the process of innovation (and tuning innovation into reality) as the content of the innovation itself.

In a recent Fast Company article, Ken Robinson wrote, “Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value.” Creativity with a purpose seems to be among our sector’s greatest assets.

We are excited to hear what qualities and strategies are employed to launch a cool idea or project, as well as the development process (including the support or obstacles encountered).

We'd like to understand what artists/producers/entrepreneurs need to do (and who they need to engage) to bring their ideas to life.

How are opportunities identified and assets leveraged? How do today’s discoverers, curators, and artists ensure that they’re not just tapping familiar, safe sources?

We look forward to the conversation and thank you for joining us this week,

The Emerging Leaders Council of Americans for the Arts

1 responses for Emerging Ideas: Seeking and Celebrating the Spark of Innovation


July 26, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Sounds like me! Can't wait to hear voices from across the nation! What a timely conversation. Thank you!

  • Please login to post comments.