Art, Complexity & Human Evolution

In a recent interview we had with professor Dave Snowden, he said that “art comes before language in human evolution.” This got us thinking about the role that art plays in our lives as humans. Why is it important? How does it influence us?

In our search for answers we came across a conceptual artist who has greatly influenced American culture, Robert McCall. Robert McCall is known for his works of space art. He was an illustrator for Life magazine and according to his website, “he has done more than any other artist to enable Americans to visualize their nation’s presence in space. He is described as an optimist and dreamer, unrestrained by scale, unlimited by location, unconfined by the boundaries of what is known or what can be imagined.” McCall is so much more than an artist, he is an innovator and leader because he inspires others by communicating his ideas with hope, imagination, and enthusiasm.

We have discovered through McCall’s conceptual artwork that art can be a profound way to communicate brilliant ideas. Visionary art can translate complex or “zany” (as our mentor Douglas Drane would say) ideas into something tangible and relatable by tapping into the imagination, which can be much more challenging to accomplish through language. Often, when a complex idea is communicated through language, it can be hard to understand or connect with because it is difficult to describe.

We believe that art is one of the most (if not the most) powerful innovation tools, which can leave a long lasting impression. It's power is derived from it's limitlessness. There are no rules or boundaries and no idea is too far-fetched for art. Therefore art is free to nudge at the boundaries of society with such raw honesty that it propels and expands human consciousness. 

Human progress demands that we embrace the limitlessness creative freedom that art has to offer. Leaders can embrace creative freedom in the workplace by replacing fixed rules with guiding principles so that innovation can emerge from team collaboration. And individually, we can experiment with creative freedom by giving ourselves the time and space to express ourselves.  

The best way to predict the future is to create it.
— Peter Drucker

Let's Work Happy!


You can listen to the HumanCurrent podcast here and don't forget to subscribe in iTunes. Be sure to listen to our most recent episode with founder of the Cognitive Edge and the Cynefin Framework, Professor Dave Snowden.


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