About the Power of Art and its Influence on Business

Art Thinking pioneer and New York University Steinhardt Professor Amy Whitaker meets Massimo Portincaso, analytical visionary and managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group. They talk about the ways in which art can help us to understand complexity and ambiguity in our world

The world seems full of uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity — especially in times of a pandemic. It may not always be easy to create a vision for the future, while in the present the overwhelming impression is that things may be out of control. In fact, some say the world is better than ever, but the common conception is that it’s getting worse. How can we help each other to make sense of the world around us and to create a better future for society, business and nature?

In the fourth episode of Porsche’s Next-Visions podcast in collaboration with the House of Beautiful Business, Amy Whitaker meets Massimo Portincaso. The NYU Professor and the partner at Boston Consulting Group came together in a discussion about the topics of tomorrow in Lisbon — without a moderator or having ever met before as it’s one of the principles of the podcast.

The setting for their meet-up couldn’t be better than the storied halls of the Academia das Ciências in the old town of Lisbon: Amy and Massimo share the belief that art can help us to understand the complexity of the world. They argue for exchange between art and science, contrary to the assumption that while science is a necessity, art is for leisure.

Massimo argues that poetry helps us to accept complexity and ambiguity in our world

An engineer turned marketer, Massimo is in charge of global marketing and communications at Boston Consulting Group and is a member of the board of the House of Beautiful Business. In collaboration with BCG’s Global Marketing Committee, he defines the company’s marketing strategy and seeks out partnerships with initiatives and thought leaders such as Magnum, the MIT MediaLab, and TED.

Massimo joined BCG in 1997 and has worked for the company in Düsseldorf, Munich, Vienna, and Berlin. In 2002, he left to run his own company, rejoining in 2006 as marketing director for Europe. He’s also responsible for developing and strengthening BCG’s network of marketers around the globe, which has resulted in coverage by CNBC and Bloomberg, and features in publications including Consulting Magazine and Fast Company.

„Poetry can help our senses not to be deceived“ — Massimo Portincaso

As a trained engineer, he comes from a world of numbers, of mathematical equations. Problems are solved by tracing them back to their principles. But this does not prevent Massimo from acknowledging the value of art. He is convinced that poetry trains to accept complexity and helps to understand the true meaning of words. In a time when simple answers are quickly found, poetry can help us to accept the contradictions and difficulties of the world. Connecting two seemingly divided ways of thinking brings us to Amy, the counterpart of this episode.

Amy works on a framework that connects our practical and creative selves

Amy is an assistant professor of business and art at New York University. As a business poet and human Venn diagram, she strives to connect our practical and creative selves in favour of business and personal growth. One of her passion points is fractional equity, which means, for example, that an artist would retain equity of their work when it’s sold and therefore benefit from an increase in value over time.

“If you are making art in any field you are not going from point A to point B. You are inventing point B.” Amy Whitaker

She holds an MBA from Yale and an MFA in painting from the Slade School of Fine Art, as well as an undergraduate degree from Williams College in political science and art. Her first book Museum Legs was included in the Authors@Google program and assigned reading for the first-year class at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her most influential work is her book Art Thinking.

Art Thinking or how to leave room for dreams

You have surely heard of Design Thinking, an approach to tackling tasks from the point of view of technical solvability and which makes it possible to overcome traditional models of thinking, learning and working. Amy has worked on a whole new concept called Art Thinking. The difference between the two: Design Thinking takes you from point A to point B while art thinking is a framework that allows more room to dream and create by acknowledging that artists have to invent a point B.

„It is about how to structure and set aside space for open-ended, failure-is-possible exploration and to move forward by asking the big, messy, important questions, whether you know they are possible to answer or not“, to quote her book. There is also a great TedTalk by Amy on Art Thinking if you want to dive deeper into the matter.

These thoughts lead to an interesting discussion with Massimo about how ownership in ideas and data can be redistributed in the world of the future. Listen to the full episode of the podcast to find out more about the ideas and thoughts that Massimo and Amy discuss on art, business and the future.

The podcast is available on all common podcast platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Deezer. The next episode will be online on June 3rd and features Sophie Kleber and Maria Kolitsida.

We also recommend checking out the earlier episodes of the podcast: Galatasaray Managing Director Ebru Koksal and London Business School Professor Herminia Ibarra, who talk about radical career decisions and leadership in times of disruption as well as architect and conscious-city pioneer Itai Palti and the founder of Secret City Trails Kristina Palovicova sharing a new perspective on cities and how they influence us. In Episode #3 Creative Director and Co-Founder of the Nature 2.0 DAO Sovereign Nature Initiative Florian Schmitt and AI Ethicist John C. Havens talk about the importance of well-being and how AI

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Next Visions

Next Visions

There’s more to Porsche than sports cars // #NextVisions is a platform about smart technologies and the people that drive our digital journey.