By Sophie He
China Daily, Beijing / Asia News Network.
Sarah Lewis, faculty member at the Yale University School of Art and noted art historian and curator, was among the speakers on the opening day of the World Business Forum, where she stressed the importance of creativity and innovation for contemporary society and business alike.
In speaking about what she called the “gift of failure” and the creative thrust behind it, Lewis set out the difference between success and mastery. She said success means to hit the target once, but mastery is about being deliberately amateur, about the pursuit of excellence, about knowing that it means nothing if you cannot do it time and time again.
In an exclusive interview with the China Daily on the sidelines of the event, Lewis reiterated that innovation and creativity are very important not just for the human spirit, but for financial achievement and modernization as well. “As people we are creative and we always have new ideas, we always have things we feel we would like to express,” Lewis told the China Daily, adding that creativity is important for a meaningful life, even if one is not going to be an artist.
For businesses, creativity is a means to find financial success — through the market. People have an appetite for experiencing the world in new ways, so creativity — whether through products or experience — is crucial, she said.
She also urged governments worldwide to step up backing for creative and innovative activities. “If we were to wipe out all of our cities and our civilizations, what would we know ourselves through? It wouldn’t be through our financial accumulation, it would be through how we’ve found new ways to create on this earth,” Lewis noted.
“So I would encourage governments to look back historically to consider why we are here as certain cultures or certain civilizations. And what data we use to determine why the civilizations are so great.”