Entrepreneurial Research

  • The entrepreneur as an artist

The future is unpredictable. Likewise it is unpredictable whether a business model will succeed or not. Nevertheless, decisions must fall: Successful business models need decisive actions – today and every day. This is supported by strategies that rely on an active shaping the future through control and refrain from predicting the future like a visionary [1]. The former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt famously said: anyone who has visions should see an ophthalmologist.

Entrepreneurship is all about creating new things and convincing others with your ideas [2]. Artists and entrepreneurs both create things, sensations or functions that did not exist before and that ideally inspire thoughts, impress and even change your perception of the world. Or things that expand people’s radius of action – or at least make them more efficient.

Newishness in the arts and on the market

Artists must create something new if they don’t want to be imitators. The history of art is the history of aesthetic innovation. Craftful skills alone may be enough to fake a painting. But only craftful skills by themselves would have never sufficed to invent cubism in painting or twelve-tone music. They were conceived by artists who dared to create new terrain, to explore it – and to sell it. Here’s the parallel to the market: who wants to be successful with a product should be the first to make this product known. Only then people will think about that particular product when they think about the product category. The same holds true for services.

Back to art. Works of art have to convince. They must convince people that they are worth the time and attention you devote to them. The products and services of entrepreneurs must convince the market. Depending on the business model, they have to prove at the cashier that they are worth the purchase price – or, in ad-financed business models, be worth the time and attention of the audience.

Artistic imperative for entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs have more in common with artists than with managers. For a businessman reproducing what already exists it suffices to be a good manager. But entrepreneurs must have an artistic soul to break conventions and to bring something new into the world. [3]

Everyone is an artist, said the German artist and art professor Josef Beuys. What he programmatically said: everyone has the potential to be an artist. Creativity is certainly no magic, but an inner attitude. This attitude arises from a continuous confrontation with oneself. At the end of this process lies the key to one’s own authenticity, which, in turn, plays a crucial role for the development of one’s own creativity [4]. Only those who are authentically her- or himself can create something authentically new and distinct.



[1] cf. Faschingbauer 2013, p 106

[2] cf. Reckhenrich 2013, p 98

[3] cf. Faltin, 2013, pp 52–53

[4] cf. Reckhenrich 2013, p 98


Faltin, Günter (2013): Kopf schlägt Kapital. Die ganz andere Art, ein Unternehmen zu gründen. Von der Lust, ein Entrepreneur zu sein, 4. Auflage, München.

Faschingbauer, Michael (2013): Effectuation. Wie erfolgreiche Unternehmer denken, entscheiden und handeln, 2. Auflage, Stuttgart.

Reckhenrich, Jörg (2013): Werden Sie zum Künstler. Können Manager etwas von Picasso, Beuys und Lady Gaga lernen? Ja – indem sie ihre eigene kreative Haltung und Identität entwickeln., in: Harvard Business Manager. Vom Manager zum Unternehmer (7), pp 98–99.


[Picture credit: © Florian Stenschke]