Just over three years ago, WÆRK was founded as an inclusive antidote to the single-minded tech- and data- focused approaches to business processes and innovation (and limited ideas of “progress”). The world has changed dramatically since then, and today we are even more convinced that art - the inclusion of art, in all aspects of life - is what will help humans to transform the world for the better.

It’s been a while since our last post, but we hope you’ll “thumb” our archives and continue to visit. We’ll post more regularly soon.

In the meantime, we’d like to share our manifesto with you again.

If you’d like to continue the conversation, please drop us a line at hello@waerk.com. We look forward to hearing from you.


The WÆRK Questionnaire | Roseann Warren

Photo: Alaric Campbell

Photo: Alaric Campbell

Our advisory board member, Roseann Warren, recently sat for The WÆRK Questionnaire.  We're thrilled to share her illuminating responses - on everything from STEM's current dominance to Wakanda -  with you.

1. Describe what you do, in five words or less.

Purveyor of words and music.

2. What is your favorite artistic genre (and why and how does it influence your daily work)?

Music and books. Both grow from nothing and turn into something. As a music writer, I’m always listening to music, but when editing a book or writing about something non-music related, my choice of music is the instrumental, or I’ll start focusing on the vocals (the lyrics).

3. What's the best (creative or business) advice you've received?

I’ve always been impatient with the process and oftentimes just want things done. To ground myself while in the spin, I recall a conversation I had with my mother during a time of disappointment. She advised, “Take your time, it’s not a race. Everything happens in its time.” I hold that close to the chest. Whatever the time is, is always the right time.

4. What question do you wish we'd ask (please answer as well)?

What’s your plan?

I plan to expand my editorial consultancy to include other mediums (screenwriting particularly). I’ve always had a penchant for documentaries and dramas, and working with various writers will expose me to another style of writing I thoroughly enjoy consuming. I’ve grappled with the idea of being involved in education, initially at the college level, teaching courses in digital marketing. However, the more I think about it, the question of what would have a lasting impact is a stronger motivator. I plan to develop a program to assist children in building critical skills from an early age, by introducing them to literature or expanding upon what they’re already learning in school. Not to sound all Whitney Houston, but “the children are the future; treat them well and let them lead the way.” STEM is not the complete answer. We need to find ways to better incorporate the arts. And lastly, on a personal aspiration of mine. There’s a whole world out there I’ve barely scratched the surface on seeing. I’m focused on travel to faraway places and have submitted my application for Wakandan citizenship.

5. Which forces do you wish would be more influential, in the business world?  

Due to having a liberal education and a career largely in the arts, the creative sector in business has always been of interest to me. What we have seen over the last 20 years is how technology has taken precedence over all, disrupting and even destroying industries, with the effect of dismantling livelihoods. The arts have been hit the hardest. Corporate companies target Business School graduates and ignore humanities and liberal candidates. We’ve witnessed a plethora of tone-deaf campaigns because marketing teams lack diversity. We’ve seen print media forced into unprofitable web entities to survive. We’ve seen the music industry become a non-tangible medium where the very content creators needed for these streaming services to work, are not being compensated fairly or even at all. We’ve seen social media distort perception of once caring about what is out there in the world to turn the camera on oneself, subverting the once ‘us’ into the ‘i’. I would like to see the merging of the arts and technology working together to create solutions that are emphatic, where profits are not rooted in sacrifice but leading a world towards compassion for others. Imagine that world!

Hot Links | STEM Overhyped? | Critical Thinking in Crisis | Scientific Subjectivity | Sensory Lexicon Gaps

Getty Images

Getty Images

The Sydney Morning Herald asks: “Are STEM Skills Overhyped?” , while Strategy+Business posits that the lack of executive empathy is due to a dearth of so-called “soft” skills – like critical thinking.

This piece on Medium’s UX Planet highlights the importance of humanities perspectives in design.

This caught our eye: NPR explores the limits of Western languages, when describing scent.

In AEON, Margaret Wertheim’s piece on dimension showcases subjectivity in the sciences (we’ve been saying all along that subjectivity is not the exclusive provenance of the arts)!

Hot Links | Math and Music | STEAM Power for Indy | Design Powered Innovation | The Arrival of AI

All musicans are subconsciously mathematicians
— Thelonious Monk


Some are new, some are not.  Nonetheless, all of the articles linked to below are currently fueling our ideas for/discussions on arts-led innovation.

A late, transcendent discovery from 2017: Josh Jones on the mathematics of music in Open Culture.

The Indiana-based Lilly Endowment is offering grants up to $10 million for ideas that will strengthen "Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation".

Forbes explores the relationship between triple bottom line design and successful innovation.

Take note: Oracle's CEO Safra Catz says that "AI is finally here."  With this in mind, we ask: how will we manage this in ways that meaningfully improve the circumstances of the planet and its people.




Hot Links | Looking Toward 2018 | CEOs in Art School | Hoping for a Chartreuse World

Knowledge consists in the search for the truth...it is not the search for certainty.
— Karl Popper

Some are new, some are not.  Nonetheless, all of the articles linked to below are currently fueling our ideas for/discussions on arts-led innovation.

We think it’s time to disrupt the coming wave of digital disruption – in meaningful, people and planet centered ways.  As Strategy + Business says: This wave of digital disruption will have far-reaching effects. Already, digital technology has shown its ability to outpace or outmaneuver efforts to control it.

YES!  Business leaders are going to art school, to develop creative skills.  We are hopeful that increased empathy will be part of the enrichment.

What will work look like in the 2030?  We’re doing everything we can, to facilitate the development of something like a chartreuse world (a mixture of green and yellow).

Co.Design hypothesizes the big design trends of the coming new year.  We really hope that Inclusivity for All takes off and transcends trend to become standard practice.

This is progress: investment funds that benefit communities in addition to shareholders.  We like to imagine a future in which there are large investment funds that benefit communities instead of shareholders.

Less of this and this, more human-centered protections from autonomous AI.

We are very interested in the discussion around the outsized influence of Big Tech and the search for the “Davids” that can bring equilibrium to the sector.

Hot Links | Art and Next-Gen Innovation | Spongy Cities | A Call for Data Innovation | More AI Alarm Bells

Photo by {artist}/{collectionName} / Getty Images

Photo by {artist}/{collectionName} / Getty Images

Some are new, some are not.  Nonetheless, all of the articles linked to below are currently fueling our ideas for/discussions on arts-led innovation.

More proof that qualities inherent to arts practice and education are crucial components of transformative innovation.

Climate change has come and it is STEAM that may save us.  The idea of “spongier” cities brilliantly exposes the potential for human-made solutions to human-made problems.

In revealing the tricks of the Ad Tech trade, this “whistleblower” shines a spotlight on the necessity of prioritizing the consistent human management of emerging technologies. 

The Census Bureau is seeking innovative collaborators, to help them to gather and interpret data.  What an incredible opportunity, for human-centered technologies!

We’re at it again!  Here’s another great read, this time by Yarden Katz in SSRN, on the dangers of unchecked Artificial Intelligence.


Hot Links | Disappearing Privacy | The Ethics of Data Science | How Smart Are Smart Cities?

Getty Images

Getty Images

Some are new, some are not.  Nonetheless, all of the articles linked to below are currently fueling our ideas for/discussions on arts-led innovation.

n JSTOR Daily, Charlotte Lieberman exposes the fallacy of authenticity and the vacuity of branding.  We are well aware that the answers are not within Apps, but rather the arts.

According to Fast Company’s Co.Design, we are entering the age of “Centaur Design” in which the needs of humans and the machines we operate are given equal weight in the design and development processes.  This has been keeping us up at night.

Our attention was drawn once again to the surge in so-called Smart City development (this time led by Microsoft). Barry’s Blog asks a crucial question: how “smart" can these proposed cities be, without the inclusion of perspectives from arts and culture sectors?  Answer: they can’t.


Communications of the ACM explores the ethical responsibilities of data scientists in a world that has granted them significant, largely unchecked, power, and neglected to place parameters around the expansion of artificial intelligence.  

WVIK.com alerts us to next level digital (and real life) privacy concerns, with the recent introduction of Amazon Key.

Hot Links | Bleeding Heart Design | Cheerleading the Arts Economy | Exploring Post-Facebook Realities

Links that are inspiring us this week: Gentrification-proof community development?  A post-Facebook world? Arts as a weapon against the AI apocalypse.