Macquarie Graduate School of Management looks to the arts

  • Macquarie University looks to the arts to diversify their MBA offering

Business and arts, arts and business. From my experience working with artists I can attest that pretty much the only time business is dropped into conversation it goes a little bit like this: ‘I don’t really know about the business side, I just want to concentrate on my practice’. Arts organisations however have to be business savvy in order to find ways of serving their communities in conditions that don’t always favour the value that arts and creative industries brings to our society. Arts organisations work within the cross section of many tensions: between new ideas or social trends and popular culture; working with with diverse communities and traditional arts going audiences; political or government changes and the ability to access reliable funding streams. Arising from these tensions is creative thinking, innovation, and new ways of working to ensure the sustainability of the organisation.

While the arts can certainly learn from business, business can also learn from the unique perspective arts administrators and managers can offer in terms of innovation and creative, collaborative thinking. Macquarie Graduate School of Management has recongnised this, and appointed Kim Mckay, the CEO of Australian Museum, as an Honorary Adjunct Professor for their MBA program.

Madeleine Dore, ArtsHub’s Deputy Editor covers this story in ArtsHub.

Follow Madeleine on Twitter: @RoutineCurator


Cover image: Creative workshopping in Port Hedland with the FORM team, Amy Plant, 2015



  1. Many of these skills that the arts can bring to business are certainly reflective of the changing challenges organisations and companies will increasingly need to navigate , such as how they engage their markets and their communities for license to operate, and innovate for new product offerings. Great to see an unusual appointment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting article in the Forbes blog link … “Why Design Thinking Should Be At The Core Of Your Business Strategy Development”.

    With all industries being progressively disrupted by technology … creativity, change, ‘thinking outside the box’ are more and more critical in business.

    So how does accounting fit in with all of this?

    Regars, Martin


    • Hi Martin, This is a really good question. It seems more and more businesses are looking to creative thinking and design thinking to help solve problems or make the most of new opportunities. In particular, design thinking, allows you to look at problems empathetically; or from a human point of view (as IDEO puts it). What can this mean for accounting? Design thinking could really improve the ways accountants communicate financial information. I think the best industry to draw comparison from is banking. Can you remember when you had to wait for a statement to be posted to you or go into a bank to check your balance or see recent transactions? Telephone banking started to give consumers and business more flexibility and new pathways to access their information. Now with internet banking and apps, banking information is at a business’s disposal 24/7/365. Design thinking may offer ways for accountants to utilise technology that will assist their clients access information in a revolutionary way- just like banking apps did for everyday bank customers! I’m sure there is technology out there already, but different industries and stakeholders sometimes call for customised solutions. By using design thinking to better understand the needs of the people needing accounting information, arguably there will be better, more meaningful and relevant results, and perhaps with less risk of failure.

      In a recent interview I posted with a financial firm owner, he noted the following-
      “ individuals, who might be daunted by financial responsibilities, to manage their personal financial affairs..”
      “..and then to translate that into a service that the client can understand, appreciate and act on. In particular, to translate figures into reports that convey meaning to a client…”

      Perhaps a design thinking approach: thinking empathetically with clients trying to understand financial advice could help find ways which may assist clients in overcoming their fear, or feeling daunted, of financial matters so they can make better business/personal decisions? Maybe accounting offices could use design thinking and prototyping to think about the end to end experience of a client when using their service: from landing on a web page, walking through an office door, receiving information form accountants. By trying to understanding what and accountant’s clients are feeling at each of these ‘touch points’, it’s much easier to design or create solutions to improve customer experience.


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