We hear a lot about about organisational culture in social enterprises. Sometimes this involves appropriating big business methods and approaches to make not for profits more efficient in the delivery of services and advocacy.
I would suggest this sometimes creates an ideological black hole where core values, staff and services are compromised for superficial gain. In these instances, the nasty hidden truth is service delivery and advocacy loses the ability to bring about societal change and make a real and lasting difference.
Recently, I found out about a group of artists experimenting and skills sharing called Swarm Dynamics and this got me thinking. I want to sew a truly innovative idea and this is radical.
Not for profits could thrive by collaborating with artists in unexpected ways.
Engaging with artists beyond messaging in areas like strategy, workforce participation, governance and advocacy can produce solutions conventional MBA types that use clichés like ‘think outside the box’ would never conceive.
Swarm is a small international non-profit organisation that exists fusing creative talent with expertise in environmental policy, campaigning, and system change. This group of artists and experts have come together to create new ways to shift the mainstream understanding of what is possible. They have helped NGOs and change makers think differently about their strategies, not only how they tell their stories.
As a creative catalyst this exciting group has challenged some of the inherited ways of doing things, generated bold ideas and strategic directions informed by experts. This group aims to help re-invigorate campaigns, bring about change, and link these to the mainstream through the power of arts and culture.
It’s worth considering the potentials of policy and strategy people collaborating with artists. As creatives, artists problem solve, challenge and innovate in very different ways from more conventional strategists. Their methods might be harnessed to address planning challenges, achieving outcomes and long term sustainability in not for profit organisations.