Publication type: Conference paper
Type of review: Peer review (abstract)
Title: "What is Creative Agility?"
Authors: Borghoff, Birgitta
Frick-Islitzer, Dagmar
et. al: No
Conference details: dmi: Academic Design Management Conference (ADMC22), Toronto, Canada, 3-4 August 2022
Issue Date: 3-Aug-2022
Language: English
Subjects: Creative agility; Creagility; Design practice; Creagile practice; Art-based intervention; Art-based strategy; Organizational communication; Creagile experiment; Artistic strategy; Artistic intervention; Design process; Design thinking; Agility; Agile practice; Agile mindset; Creative mindset; Creagile mindset; Agile intervention
Subject (DDC): 658.406: Innovation management, change management
Abstract: 1. Collaboration Topic Within the framework of the Erasmus+ project on Creative Agility (2021 - 2023), an international pro-ject team consisting of artists, mediators and scientists from Liechtenstein (Kubus Kulturvermittlung Balzers, overall management), Switzerland (ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, lead scientific accompanying research), Austria (SPES Zukunftsakademie Schlierbach) and Germany (HKS University for Arts in the Social Ottersberg) is currently exploring how art-based strategies transform digital and analog communication in organizations. In the wake of Practice and Narrative Turn , "Communication Constitutes Organization" paradigm as well as narratological management and organizational research , practice routines such as leadership, management, entrepreneurship and consulting have become communicative tasks . Increasingly, de-sign practices as well as arts-based strategies, methods, and interventions are being used to create narrative effects and impact in organizations. The development and research project outlined here is situated in the field of adult education and specifically permeates the following themes of the ADMC conference: - Design Leadership with a view to organizational transformations through the integration of art-based strategies and interventions, design practices and methods in organizational contexts; Sci-entific accompanying research of a case study as well as pilot trainings/market tests in Europe by means of (practice-theoretical and) approaches from discourse and design research . - Design for the Public Good with a view to the development of a future-oriented training on Crea-tive Agility for executives and decision-makers in different contexts such as business, politics, society, health, etc. incl. accompanying scientific research (case study and pilot trainings/market tests in Europe using (practice-theoretical and) approaches from discourse and design rese-arch ). 2. Short Description of Project, R+B Research and Partnership How do dialogue, collaboration and participation succeed in situations of volatility, uncertainty, comple-xity and ambiguity? The VUCA world in which we live today is constantly putting us to the test. It fun-damentally reshapes our lives, our interaction and communication. Working, decision-making and com-munication processes must be rethought and reestablished. We are constantly discovering, trying out and reflecting on how we function in communicative interaction. This creates uncertainty and anxiety, because social practices and forms of cooperation are constantly being renegotiated. Everything is changing - permanently. How do we react to this change and how do we shape it communicatively as people in different functional roles, as teams, as organizations, as a society? Why Creative Agility? The project team sees Creative Agility as a key competence for navigating complex working environments - digital and analog. Organizational development is not just a questi-on of technical skills, but of the ability to break through decision-making, communication and lea-dership routines that have become deficient, to face situations with Creative Agility and to communi-cate effectively. Can this ability be trained? And can it enrich "creagile" transformation processes in organizations? These are the questions the international project team is addressing. Project goals: Together, the project partners are developing a training course on Creative Agility that will enable people to face volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous situations in a "creagile" way and to actively shape organizational and social transformations. The training focuses on the way participants communicate without explicitly pointing this out at the beginning. Creative Agility does not function in isolation from, but rather embedded in, constructive and benevolent analog and digital communication behavior. Through "creagile" communication, decision-making, change and organiza-tional processes can be accelerated and improved. The aim of the project is to develop a curricular training concept in the form of a modular art-based, knowledge-oriented and methodological-didactic kit including various training materials. In addition, pilot trainings (market tests) in Europe and expe-riments with digital and analog learning formats will be realized. The training materials developed in German will be translated into English, French and Italian after completion of the project. The project budget amounts to EUR 322'000. Observing, linguistically capturing and designing Creative Agility: An important basis for the joint development of the training is the scientific accompanying research of the Erasmus+ project on the part of the ZHAW, specifically a case study realized in winter 2021. As a communication, dis-course and design researcher, Birgitta Borghoff observed how Michael Uhl, freelance director and lecturer at the HKS Ottersberg, worked artistically with local decision-makers in the German com-munity of Ottersberg (near Bremen). In the process, she was able to witness how politically active, artistic and academic actors behave towards the big complex questions in the context of narrowly defined competencies. They did this using the example of the topic "economy/growth and ecology". Together, the participants explored how they deal with permanent over-complexity in their respective roles on the basis of a concrete project on housing densification. In doing so, they explored the question of how political mediation can succeed when answers to facts or questions are not immedi-ately available. The theater-based artistic method of the "Narrative Recherche" developed by Michael Uhl himself was applied. The result was a collection of narratives and perspectives of the participants, which were brought together as a mosaic in an artistic form. Currently, the ZHAW is evaluating the effect of the "Narrative Recherche" on the participants from the council, administration, art and science. In addition to the evaluation of the observation protocols of the artistic interventions in Ottersberg, narrative group interviews were conducted with the council and administration of the Ottersberg municipality as well as with actors of the HKS Ottersberg. The interviews were transcribed verbatim. In addition, summary protocols of individual interviews with the Ottersberg population were prepared. As part of a research-based teaching project, Birgitta Borghoff is evaluating narrative patterns and practices of language use together with communication students at the ZHAW. Linguistically it is reconstructed what the actors participating in the process say and how they behave (discourses ). How does the process take shape? What practices and social routi-nes can be identified? What histories, conflicts and themes emerge? And what can we learn from this with a view to transferability to similar situations, other organizational and social contexts, and discursive simulations of desirable futures ("design fiction" )? Our contribution in the R+B track at ADMC 2022 presents firstly results of the discourse analytic case study in Ottersberg and how we integrate them into the development of a guide for implemen-ting artistic interventions in organizations as well as into the training on Creative Agility. Second, there will be multi-perspective insights into the experiences of the project partners during the first pilot training/market test in Liechtenstein (May/June 2022) as well as during a first Swiss multiplier event at the ZHAW (June 2022). Here we will share the current status of our results and learnings with a broad Swiss public. At the ADMC, you can expect a variety of insights into an exciting Eras-mus+ project and conversations with artistic, mediating, researching and teaching project partners. - An exciting opportunity to experience Creative Agility live.
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: Applied Linguistics
Organisational Unit: Institute of Applied Media Studies (IAM)
Published as part of the ZHAW project: Kreative Agilität – Wie kunstbasierte Strategien die digitale und analoge Kommunikation in Organisationen transformieren
Appears in collections:Publikationen Angewandte Linguistik

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Borghoff, B., & Frick-Islitzer, D. (2022, August 3). “What is Creative Agility?”. Dmi: Academic Design Management Conference (ADMC22), Toronto, Canada, 3-4 August 2022.
Borghoff, B. and Frick-Islitzer, D. (2022) ‘‘What is Creative Agility?’’, in dmi: Academic Design Management Conference (ADMC22), Toronto, Canada, 3-4 August 2022. Available at:
B. Borghoff and D. Frick-Islitzer, ““What is Creative Agility?”,” in dmi: Academic Design Management Conference (ADMC22), Toronto, Canada, 3-4 August 2022, Aug. 2022. [Online]. Available:
BORGHOFF, Birgitta und Dagmar FRICK-ISLITZER, 2022. „What is Creative Agility?“. In: dmi: Academic Design Management Conference (ADMC22), Toronto, Canada, 3-4 August 2022 [online]. Conference paper. 3 August 2022. Verfügbar unter:
Borghoff, Birgitta, and Dagmar Frick-Islitzer. 2022. ““What Is Creative Agility?”.” Conference paper. In Dmi: Academic Design Management Conference (ADMC22), Toronto, Canada, 3-4 August 2022.
Borghoff, Birgitta, and Dagmar Frick-Islitzer. ““What Is Creative Agility?”.” Dmi: Academic Design Management Conference (ADMC22), Toronto, Canada, 3-4 August 2022, 2022,

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