Creativity and the Future of Work

14 Nov 2019

Creativity and the Future of Work

Arts & Business NI recently hosted a business breakfast in Golden Thread Gallery which explored the importance of creativity in relation to the Future of Work.

The thought leadership event, kindly supported by A&BNI business member Ulster University Business School, provided insight into the key role of creativity and creative thinking in the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution.


Mary Nagele, CEO at Arts & Business NI outlined how A&BNI is enabling creative collaboration between the Arts sector and business in Northern Ireland:

“Working with our business members, we are finding that Millennials and Generation Z are driven primarily by a healthy work/life balance- they want more than the 9-5 experience. We help our members to address this by scheduling creative training in the workplace, enabling their people to feel valued, develop social/emotional skills, build teams, nurture innovative thinking and have fun.”

Eoin McFadden, Innovation and Specialisation Branch,

Department for the Economy gave the view of creativity from the government and economy perspective:

“Innovation is a contact sport- it flourishes at the intersections of concepts and ideas. New experiences and encounters with ideas themselves can create new ideas in turn.

Creativity is not just about money- it’s about much more. We are not machines- we need arts, music, theatre and storytelling as key elements of a rich cultural life and society.“

Our keynote speaker, Professor Gillian Armstrong,Director of Business Engagement at Ulster University, shared how, in an age of disruption, U.U. are providing entrepreneurial leadership by creative collaborations.

“As a leading provider of entrepreneurial education, research and impact, the Ulster University Business School is shaping future growth and learning through innovative, new educational models.

Through a culture of creative collaboration with business, professional bodies and international University Institutions, the requirements for an increased focus on future skills and offerings for lifelong learning are developing quickly. Through a design thinking and “disruptive” approach to curriculum development and a focus on 21st century skills including creativity and problem solving, we are providing learning pathways for students and organisations for their collective work futures. As part of this dynamic approach to business education, the role of the Arts in supporting creativity and the future of work could well be critical.”


A&BNI business member Morrow Communications described their collaboration with arts member Bounce Culture to deliver a high energy strategy away day, facilitating creative learning and team building.

Sarah Stitt commented:

“Amongst our people, creativity isn’t in short supply, but a culture of creativity and innovation needs to be nurtured. With a full studio set up, we mixed sounds, interviewed each other and DJed, culminating in a 15-minute podcast which gave insight into our people, how they feel about our company, their role, how we work together and where we’re headed.

The process encouraged us to speak candidly, to engage our inner artist and, without realising it, to fine-tune our leadership, presentation and teamwork skills. Importantly, we had fun and took pride in the collective end result. It got us thinking in a different way.

The arts have a way of opening people up in a way they don’t expect, encouraging fresh perspective, risk-taking and problem solving. For that reason, regardless of size or sector, creative training is a valuable development tool and Arts & Business NI can provide the right match for any business wishing to give it a try.”


A&BNI business member, Baker Tilly Mooney Moore, outlined how they addressed the challenge of attraction and retention of talent by engaging graduates to script and deliver a podcast with Bounce Culture.

“As an accountancy and advisory firm, we’re operating in a very competitive market. Graduates want to know what it’s like to work in different places and choosing which firm to apply to is a big decision. Hearing first-hand from our graduates through the podcasts has been really powerful. We have seen an increase in application requests for our Graduate Training Programme and a greater awareness and understanding of the firm.”

John O’Rourke, Consulting Partner Baker Tilly Mooney Moore.


If you would like to find out more about introducing creativity in to your workplace, please speak to Maeve McKervey on 028 90735151 or email

Pictured left to right: Maeve McKervey, Arts & Business NI; John O’Rourke, Baker Tilly Mooney Moore; Eoin McFadden, Department for the Economy; Professor Gillian Armstrong, Ulster University Business School; Sarah Stitt, Morrow Communications; Mary Nagele, Arts & Business NI.

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Arts & Business is generously supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.