Partnership Strategies for Creative Placemaking in Teaching Entrepreneurial Artists

Amy Whitaker


As entrepreneurship education for artists expands, business strategy itself gets adapted to the particular ways in which artists are creative placemakers. Traditional business strategy is based on competition for scarce resources—as exemplified in Michael Porter's iconic Porter's Five Forces analysis and as extended to non-profit management by Sharon Oster's Sixth Force which includes donors. Yet creative placemaking often entails collaboration. Even in underfunded fields in which resources are in fact scarce, business strategy frameworks that are based on partnership and collaboration—most notably Brandenberger and Nalebuff's “ValueNetâ€â€”better suit community engagement and partnership strategies associated with creative placemaking. This paper takes as a case study a workshop taught to choreographers and other movement artists at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, in collaboration with the Actors Fund. The core question of the ValueNet—“If I succeed, who succeeds with me?"—has led to unexpected ways of mapping the ecosystem of the arts, and fruitful community engagement. In reimagining business strategy more holistically, this approach is also part of a larger pedagogy toward a principles-based, rather than rules-based, model of teaching business as a creative design medium itself.

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