Business leaders and members of the arts community met in downtown St. John's Thursday morning to explore ways the two groups can help each other and boost Newfoundland and Labrador's economy.

'What this economy needs is new thinking, disruptive thinking.' - Kevin Casey

The event at Atlantic Place was put off by a group called Business and Arts NL, which looks to foster relationships between artists and business people.

Mark Dobbin, president of Killick Capital, said artists are always hungry for ways to make a living and businesses are increasingly in need of new ideas to help them break away from the pack.

"We really believe when the two meet, the creative spark that drives art can help the business community drive innovation," he told the St. John's Morning Show.

Mark Dobbin, Kevin Casey, Ian Sutherland

Killick Capital president Mark Dobbin, senior vice-president of Cal Legrow Kevin Casey and Dean of MUN School of Music Ian Sutherland at the Business and Arts NL meeting Thursday morning at Atlantic Place. (Paula Gale/CBC)

Bringing artists and businesses together sounds good in theory, but how do the two actually work together for a mutually beneficial relationship?

Symbiotic relationship

One example, according to Kevin Casey, senior vice president at Cal LeGrow, is having managers bring artists to a brainstorming session or team-building exercise to share outside-the-box ways of thinking about problems.

He said with the current Newfoundland and Labrador fiscal situation, different perspectives could lead to breakthroughs that wouldn't be possible using only people from the business world. 

"What this economy needs is new thinking, disruptive thinking. If you look back at the biggest moments in business history it was probably creative minds that innovated and disrupted the norms," he said.

"It's this reciprocal exchange that happens that I don't think has ever happened before."

Atlantic Place business arts meeting 02

The idea behind the meetings is that artists can help businesses innovate while businesses can help artists gain valuable skills around marketing and selling their work. (Paula Gale/CBC)

While businesses can benefit from the talents of artists, artists can also gain useful business skills through a symbiotic relationship.

'The most valuable asset in the 21st century is the creative idea.' - Ian Sutherland

Ian Sutherland, the dean of the School of Music at Memorial University, said artists can learn how to set up and run their own enterprises, as well as gain experience in marketing, branding and so on.

To prove how great things can happen when the two groups work together, he points to how many of the world's most artistic cities — such as New York, Paris and Florence — are also economic powerhouses in the global economy

"It's about finding that creative spark. The most valuable asset in the 21st century is the creative idea," he said.

With files from St. John's Morning Show