Improving Communication and Creativity Through Art and Craft Based Learning

As they try to compete in a global economy, businesses are under pressure to develop innovative products and services, that will result in increased success and growing profitability. Many businesses are recognising the value of handmade arts and crafts training as a way of improving communication and developing key skills, such as creativity, problem solving and leadership. Artists seek to look beyond the world as others currently perceive it, in order to find new ways of expressing ideas, thoughts and feelings. The purpose of arts based training is not to teach people how to become an artist or artisan, but rather to help them apply some of the artists skills in their work. This could involve teams of people collaborating on the making of a piece of art or craft, music, storytelling or theatre, that draws upon imagination and real world experiences. Encouraging people to think beyond the normal limitations of their job title and role, can inspire new ideas and allow them to find innovative solutions, that might not otherwise have occurred to them.

Arts and crafts based learning could be led by a trainer with appropriate experience and in a pleasant location, away from the distractions of the normal work place. It might also be suggested that people do not check their telephone, email or social media accounts for the duration of the training. The trainer might open by proposing relevant topics to explore, or requesting people express their thoughts and feelings about particular works of art, design or craft. This is not intended as an opportunity for someone to show off their artistic knowledge, but rather as a way of encouraging people to begin opening up, listen to each other, share ideas and connect more deeply. Looking at and thinking about art can also influence our perception and stimulate creativity. In a competitive working environment, with clearly defined roles and relationships, many good ideas might not come to the attention of those in decision making positions. A more relaxed environment can break through some of those barriers, increasing co-operation and the free flow of ideas.

Away from the pressures of completing specific tasks and meeting deadlines, people can explore ideas more fully and gain a broader perspective, beyond old limitations and preconceptions. As they move beyond a purely rational and analytical approach, connecting to deeper emotions and their subconscious, people can become more intuitive, which can lead to fresh insights. When we express ideas through artistic mediums, it is also sometimes easier to describe concepts that we might find difficult or uncomfortable putting into words. However, people cannot be forced to become more creative and innovative, according to the dictates of a timetable, like turning on a tap. Being placed in such a pressurised situation might push some people to work harder in a practical or analytical way, but the increased stress is likely to shut down creative impulses. Cultivating a safe, non judgemental environment, that inspires and supports openness and mutual trust, is generally more productive. People will also feel more comfortable sharing ideas, that they might otherwise not feel sufficiently confident to express, fearing criticism or rejection.

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