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Creating better business

09 September 2012

At some point as children for whatever reasons, many of us come to the false conclusion we can’t draw. 

For many, that perceived failure translates into panic when handed a blank piece of paper and a pen and asked to create. (That’s me.)

Designer, artist, environmentalist, and one-time-owner of jewellery and homewares label Dinosaur Designs, Liane Rossler, says it’s a common fear and that it inhibits change, which in this day and age, affects business, productivity and growth, negatively.

She spoke at length with Ruby about the creative process and the importance – in times of change and upheaval – of handing out pieces of paper and pens and getting people to have a go, engage with the new and the process, and see where it takes them.

“One of my favourite artists is Yayoi Kusama, the Japanese avant-garde artist with a lifelong obsession and passion for polka-dots,” says Liane.

Kusama’s work has been featured at a number of Sydney Biennale’s, a visual arts event held every two years in Sydney. (This year is its 18th outing.) Kusama has also recently collaborated with Louis Vuitton – dressing the windows of the French luxury brand’s stores, its bags, sunglasses, shoes, coats and scarves, with her trademark dots.

Liane’s enduring image of Kusama, who is now in her 80s and lives by choice in a psychiatric institution, is of her seated wearing a bright red wig with hundreds of blank canvases around her, brandishing a Texta and drawing. 

“No boundaries – to be allowed to do whatever you want – is the ultimate freedom. I work across different industries as a creative advisor, coaxing people to think collaboratively about process, the journey forward, and what that might look like. The aims is not to prescribe or set goals, which can be very intimidating for people. They want to know what the parameters are they have to work with and what the outcomes will be,” says Liane, who believes for business to survive, such old attitudes have to change.

“Small is the new big,” says Liane. “In the past, we viewed and judged success as ‘big’. Now, it’s about being small and nimble and thinking on your feet. It’s a different more team-based or community approach, that plugs into a larger more collaboratively created picture.

“The tendency is to be protective of everything and guarded. Now, it’s about pooling thoughts and ideas and working together to realize concepts. We live in a world of constant change. If business is to survive and grow it needs to accommodate change and it needs to constantly assess and reassess process.” 

Paradoxically, Liane believes that means slowing ourselves down, going back to fundamentals and thinking things through: “Slow food, slow fashion, these concept’s are not about throwing the modern out or closing doors, but about allowing ourselves time to think and engage in the learning process and create new avenues.

“Look, we tried corn syrup as a way of creating cheap, long-lasting food,” says Liane, alluding to the move in the 1970s to use High Fructose Corn Syrup in processing foods. “But corn syrup has major drawbacks. So,” she continues, “why not go back to sugar and find another way forward?

“Being sustainable isn’t a static process, it means thinking and rethinking, changing and creating.” 

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