Art is Business: How can theatre Processes foster Business Innovation

Kristine Oshøj Jørgensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The following thesis aims to analyse how theatre’s creative process and practice can contribute to business innovation, thereby addressing the growing field of arts and business by looking into how theatre as a specific art form can bring value to businesses. The contributions of this thesis are intended to fill a gap in the existing literature within the field, which tends to relate to art as a general concept and not consider whether some art forms might prove better for some tasks than for others. The motivation for approaching this topic is inspired by present savings imposed by the Danish government upon the cultural industry. These may force publically funded art institutions to consider future changes to their current business model, and collaborating with business is therefore considered a means to attracting alternative revenue. The study limits itself to focusing only on the innovation process versus the innovative outcome. This is done in order to keep the findings general and independent from a specific innovation strategy or challenge, and thereby also any specific type of business. The theoretical framework reflects the process-oriented focus by presenting a theory of the innovation process, and the creative process which this entails. The framework is then used to juxtapose the theatre process with that of innovation, in order to realise relevant similarities or counterpoints. The data obtained in order to define theatres' process and practise is collected via a multiple case study of four small publicly funded theatres based in Copenhagen. Semi-structured interviews are conducted with the theatres’ artistic directors. The data derived via these interviews is then categorised and reduced in relation to key theoretical concepts and compared, in order to present the data which is relevant in terms of answering the research question, as well as representing a degree of generalisability in relation to the specific context of the selected theatres. The second part of the analysis presents recommendations on how the theatre can contribute to business innovation. The main finding is that theatre professionals are capable of structuring collective lateral thinking via improvisation exercises. It is found that by applying ephemeral sessions of improvisation in the divergent phase of the innovation process businesses are provided with a practise that is able to foster both innovative teams as well as the framework for generating novel ideas. However, there are certain challenges in relation to having a publicly funded institution spend time and resources on another domain than providing art for the public, which is what it is financially supported to do. This requires certain political initiatives in order for these types of cross-sector collaboration to become a reality.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages129