Publish at September 14 2022 Updated September 14 2022

Art and poetry to learn differently

Towards generative learning

Girl with watercolor

"Effective management derives more from art and especially from craft; art produces the "insight" and  "vision" that comes from intuition. "


Developing a critique of the world

Convenient ways of thinking develop when nothing is put in place to counter the routines. A pedagogical method in its time of innovation calcifies and becomes a succession of dead rituals if nothing is done to shake it up. For example, a meeting whose course is known in advance produces little commitment, innovation and desire for the future.

For Boltanski (1999), capitalism has triumphed thanks to the formidable recuperation of artistic criticism, and certainly of all criticism. Capitalism would assimilate all criticism to its benefit in order to strengthen itself. For example, ecology is in the spotlight; let's sell ecology in all its forms (books, travel, reference material, products and services, etc.) on each ecological product or service, let's take a share of value and this is how the spirit of capitalism is maintained. Capitalism has a power to assimilate what tries to challenge it. Boltanski developed a frontal critique of capitalism, he knew how to show the limits of a dehumanizing management model by reducing management to accounting. Boltanski asserts in a limit of the critical power of art but is it so sure?

Art thinking to bring a critique of the world 

The journal Usbek et Rica credits Sylvain Bureau, an associate professor of economics and a doctorate from École Polytechnique, with creating  the "Art Thinking"   "artistic thinking" method. While contemporary art has for a very long time stimulated European elites by proposing new forms and ideas, the implementation of systematic creative methods brings its effect of novelty to the ways of thinking about business.

It is because emerging realities are fundamentally uncertain that radical artistic explorations add value. Models, predictive whether epidemiological, economic or political, are inoperative as past data and ways of forecasting no longer reflect future developments.  This has been shown by the accumulation of crises, turmoil and destabilization that no one saw coming.

In the method of art thinking, the promise is to "create something that doesn't exist on Google" that is improbable, unpredictable, implausible and questions the status quo. It's about thinking sensitively about unseen questions that challenge and question, a really strong question for oneself. Experienced by several people in a workshop or a course, the approach is also a discovery of the group called upon to negotiate and to help each person discover his or her potential. One of the key tools is the critique of the existing.

Poetry to bring a surplus of inspiration

If art thinking brings its share of creativity and innovation, poetry is a variation of art that plays with words and meanings. The praxis and poiesis complement each other  Aristotle distinguishes between praxis, which is the immanent action having no other end than the perfection of the agent, and poièsis, that is, in the broadest sense, the production of a work outside the agent. Poetry is a force for unveiling the world and driving men that comes from the depths of the ages.

For Avanzini, who defines himself as a "chief poetic officer," perhaps a modernized version of the "corporate bard," words have meaning, and they are at the forefront of concrete achievement. Words can inspire, touch hearts, even awaken consciences. For Avanzini, poetry is inspirational and, like all art, creative. Poetry says the unspeakable in a sensitive way. It works by shifting through metaphor, by activating the imaginary, by creativity, symbol, intuition and striking shortcuts. Poetry produces a language turned towards a common ideal and raises mental barriers.

For Yves (2015), poetry is strongly correlated with management, metaphor helps to understand what is complex, imagination opens to innovative and novel offers, symbols irrigate speeches and carry further than just the facts  in a warmer communication.  Finally intuition is at the heart of the thinking of leaders and entrepreneurs. For Grange (2006), poetry is at the heart of humanistic management because it carries the enthusiasm of life. It allows the genesis of a philosophy of happiness and success based on other bases than material ones, while borrowing from management its capacity for commitment and management of means.

How art for example poetry can transform management?

It is probably through a surplus of criticism that poetry and art shake the agreed forms of thought, it is also the contribution of new ways of thinking. For example making a Haiku embarks on nature, the conciseness of words, the continuity of forms that never remain fixed, the allusion to nature carries values of transitions, permanent transformations and the connection of humans to their environment.

Poetry collides with reality, rebounds, opens up new visions far beyond the mere continuous improvement of logical and mastered processes. Poetry helps us move from a world the projection to a world of imagination. Poetry will always remain in the vanguard of the next world, learning its uses and ways is learning differently to innovate and undertake.


Yves, R. (2015). Poetry and management. If you want to undertake, start with Homer. Eyrolles

Grange, T. (2006). Words, evils, fashions and methods: poetics of management. L'Expansion Management Review, 122, 28-35. 

Usbek et Rica Art thinking an original method for shaping a new real 

Chiapello, E., & Boltanski, L. (1999). The new spirit of capitalism. Paris: Gallimard.

Sylvain Bureau, L'Art Thinking

Wikipedia Art Thinking 

Universalis encyclopedia. The Philosophy of Human Things  


French Haiku Association

See more articles by this author




Access exclusive services for free

Subscribe and receive newsletters on:

  • The lessons
  • The learning resources
  • The file of the week
  • The events
  • The technologies

In addition, index your favorite resources in your own folders and find your history of consultation.

Subscribe to the newsletter

Add to my playlists

Create a playlist

Receive our news by email

Every day, stay informed about digital learning in all its forms. Great ideas and resources. Take advantage, it's free!