In contrast to the dominance of efficiency and effectiveness within organisational practice, this paper (and moreover presentation) considers whether the inherent exploratory and transformational nature of art-making can be explicitly adopted as a means to search for novelty and inspire new opportunity within organisational contexts. Drawing upon introspective first person research using visual art-making within an industrial design setting, it is proposed that art led inquiry can become integrated within organisational processes to encourage knowledge discovery and innovation. Through this integration of the playful inquiry of art-making and structured organisational practice, it is suggested that an increased likelihood of ‘useful surprise' will result which would otherwise remain hidden due to instrumental issues and organisational thinking. This new possibility is seen as being largely a consequence of the reflexive and material nature of art making. This generally intuitive interaction between artist and work is the essence of ‘material thinking', ways of making in which thoughts and concepts are evolved through the interrelationship with the material handling and physical artwork. By consciously framing art-making within a formal or ‘managed' structure it is proposed that ‘material thinking' can mediate a 'wandering' of concerns between the organisational sphere and the subjective, individual inquiry of the artist. Addittionally, because of the constantly changing dynamic of its own ways of making, or practice, it is also suggested that art-making can significantly contribute to the discovery of new possibilities within other types of practice, such as that of industrial design.
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The 4<sup>th</sup> Art of Management Conference, 2008