The very term “Business Artist” implies a measure of artistic skill and creative thinking. In Western culture, we’ve typically relegated that to the fields of music, design, photography, architecture, and related fields.
That’s totally appropriate, of course. But when you zoom out and look at other professions that we don’t usually associate with creative thinking, you’ll see that they’re all Business Artists performing their art in unique ways.
Here are four surprising examples.
The legal field is driven by process and precedent (case law), leaving little room for argument. The Latin stare decisis means “to stand by things decided.” When a court faces a legal argument, if a previous court has ruled on the same or a closely related issue, then the court will make its decision in alignment with the previous court’s decision.
While that is true, I have had lawyers tell me that their job is as much about being a Business Artist as any other profession, if not more. They need to argue the law in front of a live audience of a judge and jury.
It’s not as black and white as the textbooks might imply. Lawyers need to get into a creative flow state when they are selecting a jury, presenting their case, questioning a witness, performing a cross-examination, or managing a client.
One lawyer friend told me that taking the LSAT (the test required to get into law school in the U.S.), is nothing like going to law school. Going to law school is nothing like taking the Bar (the exam required to practice law in the U.S.). Taking and passing the BAR is nothing like being an actual lawyer.
Each of these steps is about certifying knowledge and being successful in subsequent steps. It requires you to apply your own human knowledge, to adapt and be agile.
That sounds a lot like being a Business Artist! If you follow the script or process in too much detail, you will never make it as a lawyer, at least not one in the world of AI.
The beauty of writing code is that there are endless ways to write a set of scripts to accomplish the same thing. It requires improvising on a similar level as playing music. Writing code is trial and error, experimenting with new ideas, and throwing out a long stream of work only to start again and make it better.
Coding is a form of art. This has always been true. But as we see technology become integrated into our lives in more creative ways, the engineers behind this technology have become more recognized for their creative skills.
You might think of the medical field as bound by strict processes and steps for any given situation. But there is a surprising amount of intuition, creative thinking, and problem-solving that happens in hospitals, emergency rooms, and medical offices every day.
For example, what happens when all the sensors or data suggest a certain illness or disease, but you must use your instincts to make a different call? Or what about two doctors who disagree on a course of treatment when they both have access to the exact same lab tests and patient history?
Doctors performing a diagnosis or treatment have to get creative beyond the scientific method in order to figure out whether you might be lying, giving incomplete information, or being influenced by what you’ve read online.
Just a couple of decades ago, doctors didn’t have to worry about patients who self-diagnosed by watching YouTube videos. There was a higher degree of patient trust. Now, doctors not only have to deal with patients who believe they know everything (and just want a prescription), but also have to deal with the complexities and frustrations of the healthcare system.
No wonder doctors need intuition and creative thinking!
Although we may not think of professional athletes as businesspeople in a strict sense, they are indeed “in business.” You can think of pro sports players as highly paid Business Artists serving customers on a huge scale. They must constantly operate in a flow state.
If you’re a football player who has a 250-lb. guy chasing you down on the field, you have to make a decision quickly. You can’t pull open a playbook and hope it tells you what to do in the next half-second. Because of your intense preparation, you have to let go and operate in a flow state.
We are not robots. Even in professions that operate with lots of protocols and procedures, there is still a measure of latitude. Nearly every job requires some degree of improvisation and quick decision-making.
Creative thinking is absolutely vital in every profession.