When you were in college, did you ever scoff at fellow students who took classes like weaving or sculpting? Or, maybe you were the student who took those kinds of courses much to the chagrin of your parents. I know I took some heat when I enrolled in a guitar class.!@!
The argument for the nay-saying is that those kinds of classes don’t apply to the “real world.” But professionals with artistic experience may just get the last laugh, according to Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future.
The “right brain,” with its creative, empathetic sensibilities, never won much acclaim in the world of business. But a Voice of America article about Pink’s book describes how logical “left brain” abilities are becoming less relevant in a society that once praised them. As traditional left brain professions like accounting and computer programming are becoming more susceptible to automation and outsourcing, the right brain is gaining new ground. Professionals must be prepared to offer more than just linear skills and engage in more innovative big-picture-type learning.
It can be achieved, Pink says, through artistic training. In fact, based on interviews with many successful people, he found that a lot of them had fine arts backgrounds — even people in left brain careers. Take, for example, engineers. Pink said the ones who are really flourishing are those who have “a much more robust set of abilities,” which include communication and inventive skills. In his book, Pink cited retail giant Target as an example of fusing business and design: The company enlists designers to add flair to its everyday products, separating the chain from other discount stores.
So it’s clear that many top performers already understand the relevance of the arts in today’s business environment. But for those whose right brains seem like uncharted territory, now is the time to get in touch with your inner artist. It can be as simple as rediscovering a lost childhood interest like sketching. Others might find it beneficial to sign up for art or music classes. Consider also integrating right brain-oriented activities into your organization’s development programs. Left brain knowledge is finite, but tapping into the right brain can give way to limitless learning.