leadership | January 08, 2013

Forbes Profiles John Maeda's Creative Approach To Leadership

In a new article in Forbes, John Maeda says that the future of innovation lies in the hands of the creatives—and that the most successful leaders will be those who embrace creative forms of team management. Business leaders can stand to learn a great deal from artists and designers, he explains, especially in terms of the way they collaborate. Artists often spend hours in their studios collaborating and sharing their progress with other artists. As Maeda notes, this is an important skill for managers to learn as it fosters better connections between team members. It also allows for more cohesive problem solving.

Ongoing critique is also a valuable exercise. Dmployees should feel comfortable working together collaboratively, and be able to ask how for honest feedback as their work unfolds. As the team becomes closer, Maeda says that constructive criticism should be encouraged to ensure that employees are on the right track. Finally, he says leaders should avoid making firm distinctions between "thinking" and "doing". Both are equally important, and often intertwine in the creative process. Artistic projects tend to emerge and evolve concurrently, he explains, and trying to separate the process into rigid segments doesn't allow for innovative results.

Many of these points can be found in Maeda's book, Redesigning Leadership (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life). He is the President of Rhode Island School of Design and an influential voice on the arts and technology. He is an advocate for the incorporation of arts-based learning and his keynotes explore the potential that a more creative-driven world holds.

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