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Clutter: Unpacking the Stuff of Business Innovation

12/07 Friday | 12pm

NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge invites you to a discussion with Eitan Wilf on business innovation.

Although business innovation is widely associated with a notion of organizational creativity that entails free information flow, flexibility, and minimalism that enable cross-fertilization between different departments and skills, in practice many of the physical spaces in which innovation takes place are cluttered with material artifacts and practices that produce information blockage, rigidness, and centers of gravity. Rather than assume that insubordinate “clutter” is an inevitable dimension of innovative work despite managerial efforts to make the office space austere, transparent, and frictionless, this lecture unpacks the cultural logic that accounts not only for the recrudescence of “stuff” in the workspaces where innovation takes place but also for the reasons for which specific material artifacts rather than others have become ubiquitous in such work environments.

Eitan Wilf is an associate professor in the department of sociology and anthropology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research interests focus on the institutional transformations of creative practice in the United States. He conducted ethnographic research on the academization of art-training, the development of art-producing computerized algorithms and sociable robots, and the cultural logic of creativity in business innovation. He is the author of School for Cool: The Academic Jazz Program and the Paradox of Institutionalized Creativity (University of Chicago Press, 2014), and Creativity on Demand: The Dilemmas of Innovation in an Accelerated Age (University of Chicago Press, 2019).

Co-sponsored by the OIKOS Working Group at IPK.

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