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放权:开源艺术展ArtPrize的商业智慧

Vickie Elmer 2011年10月08日

美国大急流城的艺术展形式独特,不拘一格。企业主们可以从这个艺术节获得重要的启示。正如李克•迪沃斯所言:“先进行小范围的尝试,看看结果如何。”

    2009年,安利公司(Amway)继承人李克•迪沃斯借助一支精干的员工队伍、日益普及的移动电话以及便捷的自家家庭基金在美国密歇根州大急流城创办了ArtPrize艺术节。ArtPrize艺术展形式新颖,且独具开放性。它不仅是一项艺术比赛,而且是一个盛大的艺术节日。首届ArtPrize就吸引了超过200,000观众到场,举办方预计今年参观人数能达到约500,000人次。

    那么,是什么让ArtPrize艺术展如此与众不同呢?在甄选参展艺术品方面,ArtPrize抛弃了传统的评审团评选制度,采取了观众公开评选的方式。而在参展场地选择上,组织者提供活动网站,让商家和参赛艺术家自由组合。结果就出现了这样的情景:收容所、酒吧、店铺、街道,甚至格兰德河(the Grand River)的中央,都成了艺术品的展地。几乎所有的ArtPrize艺术展奖项都由公众投票决定;只要在ArtPrize艺术展现场完成注册,人们可以通过发送手机短信或在ArtPrize艺术展官方网站上为自己喜欢的作品投票。去年的艺术展累计收到465,538张投票。

    如今,传统的封闭式组织方式向开放式转变的概念方兴未艾,甚至已经成为人心所向。所以,为什么不能把这种开源模式移植到艺术节上呢?

    近日,迪沃斯接受《财富》杂志(Fortune)专访,谈到了一直持续到10月9日的ArtPrize艺术展,探讨了举办模式中哪些方面值得当今企业及企业负责人借鉴。以下为编辑整理之后的采访内容。

    《财富》:在ArtPrize艺术展带给您的经验教训中,哪些方面对企业来说同样适用?

    李克•迪沃斯:如果能够制定出一个没有实质性内容的框架,然后放手让其他人添砖加瓦,最终得到的结果真的很棒。个体的力量虽然有限,但如果大家都贡献一分力量,结果比起少数几个核心人物统一策划的行动要好得多。

    作为领导者,我们要做的就是尽量避免设定条条框框……如果我能更好地提供条件,让人们有机会提出自己的创意,那么,整个运作体系也会渐入佳境。比如同样一栋建筑,艺术家能够从中发现各种可能,而我却做不到。

    策划举办ArtPrize艺术展给您带来的最大惊喜是什么?

    起初,我们设想的是,参加ArtPrize艺术展的观众应该都是在20到30岁之间,智能手机不离手的年青一代。可事实却并非如此,ArtPrize艺术展现场观众的年龄跨度大大超出我们的想象,不仅能够看到上了年纪的夫妻结伴而来,还有不少家庭带着蹒跚学步的孩子来参观。儿童参观艺术展,这是我们从没想到过的,我们甚至都没能预先为孩子们准备好T恤衫。

    有没有那么一瞬间让您感到您正在做一件大事?

    大急流城内有一条贯穿市中心的小河,河上有一座人行天桥。平日里,这座桥上一片寂静,每次也只有那么一两个人走过。然而,每年ArtPrize艺术展举办期间,一切在突然之间发生了变化。桥上行人川流不息,没有几千人,至少也有几百人(整条河的两岸都布置着参展的艺术品)。他们聊着自己想要参观的艺术品,打算去哪儿参观。就算在用餐时间,您听吧,他们谈的内容都是诸如想去参观哪些艺术品,必须参观的艺术品以及欣赏过哪些艺术品等等。

    您提出的“放权”的观点可能对很多人来说还是难以接受,尤其是对业务经理们来说。您能详细阐述一下为什么您认为它对ArtPrize艺术展的成功至关重要吗?

    我们的干预越少,整个活动就会进行得越好。我们所提供的只是一个大体框架,让更多的人来添加实质性的内容,而集体的创造远比我们能做的更有价值,而且这一切无需专门建立庞大的项目小组和复杂的流程。这种方式允许艺术家、企业主以及场馆和赞助商等各要素自由组合,建立丰富多样的合作关系。艺术节的持续时间只有两周半,但其间发生的事内涵丰富,连我都很难一一归纳。

    企业主怎样才能学着欣赏,或者至少是接受一定程度的放权,对此您有何见解?

    可以鼓励人们先进行小范围的开源尝试,不要一上来就拿公司的未来作为赌注。可以先围绕着某一种特定的产品或服务,进行小范围的尝试,然后看看效果如何。我想,结果肯定会让他们大受鼓舞。记住,从小范围的尝试入手,先看看结果再说。

    目前,ArtPrize的活动经费预算只有将近300万美元。您认为眼下阻碍ArtPrize艺术展成为财务可持续性项目的因素是什么?

    目前,我们正逐渐发展成为一个可持续性的组织。我们创造出了一种全新的艺术策展模式。然而,在如何开展活动,以及制定制度方面,我们可能会有一些失误。我们需要在组织层面尽可能的减少障碍。切忌对自己策划能力盲目乐观。

    到目前为止,上述举措在ArtPrize艺术展上已经显示出效果了吗?

    ArtPrize艺术展的总体目标就是要将西密歇根州的文化转变为乐于拥抱创新的文化。如今,我们看到,在大急流城涌现出了很多其他类型的活动——比如灵感源于ArtPrize艺术展的戏剧节;另外,还出现了一个汇集大量企业创意团队的聚会,他们在聚会上彼此交流心得。更有趣的是,我们听到人们对艺术、创新和设计的热情空前高涨。我看到企业家们和艺术家们因为ArtPrize艺术展而走到一起,开始全新的尝试。人们都觉得疯狂,但都在尝试,而且都尝到了甜头。

    译者:李淑玉/汪皓

    With a small staff, cell phones' growing reach, and the convenience of his family's foundation money, Amway heir Rick DeVos launched a novel, open-source art competition and festival called ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Mich. in 2009. The event attracted more than 200,000 visitors in its inaugural year, and the group expects that to grow to some 500,000 this year.

    What makes ArtPrize a standout? Instead of using a traditional jury to decide which art to accept for exhibition, ArtPrize has opened up the selection process. It offers businesses and artists a website to match up with each other. The result: Art in homeless shelters, bars, shops, on the streets, even sitting in the middle the Grand River. Almost all the prize money is awarded by public vote; after registering at an ArtPrize location, people can choose their favorites by text message or on ArtPrize's website. Last year, 465,538 votes were cast.

    The notion of opening up traditionally closed organizations continues to gain relevance, to the point that it has almost become an expectation among consumers. So why not apply it to an art festival?

    DeVos discusses how ArtPrize -- which runs through Oct. 9 -- and its model could be useful to businesses and business leaders. An edited version of the interview follows.

    Fortune: What lessons have you learned from ArtPrize that corporations also could find useful?

    Rick DeVos: Really great things happen when you create a light-weight framework and let people go. A lot of individuals making small bets is better than a centrally planned effort.

    We created as few rules as possible…. The more I can help empower people to create their own creative endeavors, the better off the system will be. An artist will see the side of a building and see the potential that would never occur to me.

    What has surprised you about launching ArtPrize?

    We expected 20 to 30-year olds to show up with their smartphones. Who actually showed up [at ArtPrize] was so much wider than that --older couples and families with toddlers. We didn't even think about kids coming to ArtPrize. We didn't even have kids' T-shirts.

    Was there a moment in which you thought you were onto something?

    Grand Rapids has a river running through the edge of downtown with a pedestrian bridge that most days is really quite dead. Only one or two people at a time go across. Then during ArtPrize, suddenly, we hear hundreds if not thousands of people are streaming across it. [The river had art installed all along it.] They're talking about what they want to see, where to go. When people are going out to dinner -- every single conversation is what they wanted to see, what they had to see, what they had already seen.

    The notion of "letting go" can be incredibly difficult to stomach, especially for business managers. Can you describe why you believe it's essential to your project?

    The less we do, the better for the event overall. The more we can create a framework that empowers people and connects people, they're going to create things of … much more value than we could without building some huge team and process. That allows all sorts of relationships between artists and business owners, venues and sponsors to spring up. I struggle to even catalog everything that happens in these two and a half weeks.

    How do you think managers can develop more of an appreciation, or at least an acceptance, of letting loose some controls?

    Just encourage folks to try small scale experiments, not bet the future of the firm on open source. Find ways to open up their process around a particular product or service on a small scale and see how it works. You're going to be really invigorated by the response you get. Dive into something small and see what you get.

    What would you say stands in ArtPrize's path to becoming a financially sustainable project with an operating budget of close to $3 million?

    We're on track to become a sustainable organization. We've created a new model for an art event. We could make some bad decisions on how we run it, and set up the rules. We need to put as few organizational blocks in front of them. You need to have humility about your own ability to plan things.

    Have you seen any effects so far from ArtPrize?

    The overall goal of ArtPrize is to shift the culture of west Michigan to one that embraces creativity. We've already seen other events pop up in Grand Rapids -- a comedy festival informed by ArtPrize, and a hub where various businesses bring their creative teams together to rub shoulders. Anecdotally, we hear people who are more excited about art and creativity and design then they ever have been before. I see entrepreneurs and artists and ArtPrize existing in a similar realm -- it's about trying things. They both think they're crazy. Then they try it - and it works.

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