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Working together based on polarity or based on connection

15-03-2023 | Koen Snoeckx

(Inspired by an original post by Julie Vandenbroucke, founder of Arteconomy)

In our observation and experience, collaborations can start from two different starting points:
'connection' or 'polarity'. Both visions are prominently present in our society.

  • Working together based on 'polarity' means that the parties are facing each other. They work
    together because of the goal to be achieved and the interest of the initiator. It is a more transactional attitude where the subject has priority over the relationship between the
    partners and the context. Everything is used to achieve the goal and the agenda of the initiator(s). This side of the collaboration spectrum is usually dominant in business relationships that evolve around securing short-term profitability and incremental innovations.

  • Working together based on 'connection' means that the initiator seeks partners with shared goals and interests, or ones that can link their interests to its goal. And as such create a common agenda that forms a basis of trust. It is a more relational attitude whereby the mutual commitments go beyond the subject of the collaboration. The development of the partners, the relationship, the context, the goal(s) to be achieved and the agenda of the initiator grow and change, making the entire collaboration more qualitative. In our opinion, this side of the collaboration spectrum should be dominant in business relationships that look at long-term sustainability and in explorations towards more disruptive innovations. It is very comparable to what is experienced in contexts of friendships, families and communities.

Some building blocks, characteristics or parts of both attitudes towards collaboration are clarified in
the visual below, but these are not restrictive.


Between these two, there is no right or wrong. Each of the positions has its relevance depending on the stage and the context the collaboration finds itself in. That being said, it is our experience and conviction that no impactful innovation is possible without navigating the ‘connection-side’ of the spectrum.
So, companies that want to internalize art thinking, artistic practices or engage in a
transformational collaboration with artists should be aware of this relational culture and be prepared to invest in trust and relationships and not just in ownership and transactions.

Four levels in the combination of art and economy
15-03-2023 | Koen Snoeckx

(Adapted from an original post by Julie Vandenbroucke, founder of Arteconomy)

To understand the vision and position of Arteconomy towards synergetic collaborations with artists, we start from a diagram by Professor Lotte Darso, from her book Artful Creation Learning-Tales of Arts-In-Business. Professor Lotte Darso organizes the possible place of art within the economy on four levels: art as a decor, an event, an instrument or for transformation.

Art as decor
For example, a company buys the work of an artist and uses it to enhance its surroundings. This form of expression can either be very superficial (e.g. ‘just for beautification’) or can have a deeper meaning in which a connection is made between the atmosphere, core values or ambition of the company and the choice for a specific artwork or artist.

Art as event
A company commits itself to an artist at the event level. This interaction can again be rather superficial (such as buying tickets to a performance) or can lead to a more far-reaching engagement such as an artist residence in the company.

Art as instrument
A company uses the instruments, methods and expertise of an artist to look at its own business context and thus actively intervene in order to achieve the business objectives. Examples are: team building with company theatre, artistic workshops on creativity, theater skills for communication training, etc.

Artist as engine for transformation
A company enters into a profound strategic, symbiotic process of change with the artist and his world of thought, insights and vision. Together they create, from a felt and co-creative inter-space, new realities around leadership, corporate values, culture and identity or focus on innovation in marketing tools, innovative products and services.






Four levels of collaboration with artists as defined by Prof. Lotte Darso. Arteconomy’s ultimate goal is to motivate and prepare companies to get engaged with artists at the transformation level.

Note that at every next level, the relationship between the two parties is deepening. At the level of
decor and event, it is more volatile, more impersonal and less impactful for the parties involved. At
the deeper levels we talk about a more personal, sustainable and impactful cooperation with added
value for both parties. The binding agent that is used in the exchange is also decisive. Money is –
while often necessary – volatile as a binding agent, whereas a physical process that connects reason
and creativity with feelings and thought has a more profound effect.
Arteconomy’s mission is to motivate and prepare companies and organizations to appropriate art
thinking methodologies starting at the level of art as instrument and to ultimately engage with artists
on the deepest level of transformation. As such, the collaborations build mainly on the mindset, the
mental world of the artist and less on the medium or works of art.

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