The Next Generation

Here’s something to think about for this morning, while I’m at my job interview! A quick post about young leaders in arts administration from ArtsFwd blogging fellow Brian Hinrichs:

The Next Gen Arts Leaders Quick Poll conducted by ArtsFwd a few months back gave voice to the frustration young arts administrators feel when their ideas aren’t heard and their organizations aren’t flexible. It was no surprise that “80% of next generation leaders who self-reported working in highly innovative organizations see their organization as ‘one they’d want to move up in,’ as compared to only 38% in non- or slightly innovative organizations.”

Just a quick question? In that survey, did they mean organizations with an innovative mission, or those that are innovatively organized and run? I assume the latter.

And one more, organizations in which a young leader wants to move up? Or one in which they can move up? I want a lot of things, whether I could ever have them is less certain.

I respond to the problem of getting an advanced degree in arts administration only to go back out into the field and find that it is just as restrictive and staid as it was when you left. Two years isn’t a very long time. For me, moving to New York didn’t mean leaving behind the problems of under-resourced organizations and improvised management techniques.

Anyway, I was supposed to go for a run this morning, but I think I am probably going to get ready for my interview and maybe stop for a coffee before I go in. As an aside, I love not having to be at an office at 9am today, it’s really improved  my mood!

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6 comments
  1. Thanks for your post! I created the NextGen Poll, so I can respond to your questions:

    Definition of Innovation: Yes, we did mean innovative in terms of organizational practices.

    Want vs. Can: You’re right that wanting to move up in an organization is very different than being able. Since it’s impossible to control whether your boss will leave or a new position will become available, our survey question focused on want, which we took an indicator of someone’s desire to continue learning and growing in an organization.

    Karina Mangu-Ward
    Director, ArtsFwd.org

    • Thanks that is really great!

      I want to spend some more time thinking about innovative missions and innovative management practices–I think there is a disconnect between the two, and an opportunity to reward innovatively organized and managed nonprofits, which in my experience are managed more effectively and to greater outcomes.

      Thanks for ArtsFwd! It’s an amazing space for conversation.

      Best,
      Ann Marie

      • I definitely agree. Often, when we (at EmcArts/ArtsFwd) talk about “innovative organizations” that gets misread as those with an innovative mission or innovative work on stage. But what we really mean is those that embrace the process of innovation, i.e. they generate genuinely new strategies to respond to deep challenges, test their strategies out through small experiments with radical intent, learn from their success/failure. They take calculated organizational risks in order to respond to the changing environment. We think that the sector should be talking a lot more about these kinds of organizations.

      • It starts with the funders, which sometimes conflate innovative work with innovative management practices. But more often than not it also starts in the tension between experience in a given field and new ideas that come from a variety of sources (including arts management degree programs, cross-sector research, and “ah-ha” moments in the shower).

        I am familiar with EMC Arts and ArtsFwd, and I am so glad that there are organizations championing innovation as a process and not just as a buzzword. It’s heartening to see it in action!

        My personal goal is to share and teach innovative leadership, talent development, and management practices with arts organizations, as I firmly believe that our people are our best resources…so we’ll see how that goes.

        Thanks for your comments! Keep up the amazing work!

    • I will definitely think about it! Thanks again.

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