Blog for Management & Consulting – June 2018
Authors: Sandra Boer and Robert Tordoir with Emke Idema and Annefleur Schep

Giving and receiving valuable feedback on new ideas, products or initiatives is a problem in many organizations. Especially when it takes place in a group. The recipient takes it personally, the feedback is inaccurate, or the minority of the participants performs the highest word which prevents others from contributing. As a result: a lot of negative energy, frustration and a brake on innovation and creativity. DAS Theater, the master’s program for theater makers and curators of the Amsterdam School of the Arts, also had to deal with this. Because feedback is so essential for theater and artistry, in collaboration with philosopher Karim Benammar they developed a feedback methodology that has been used successfully for years. They prove that it can also be done differently.

The respect and the sharpness with which DAS Theater alumni talk about the methodology, triggered us to investigate further. What can we learn from DAS Theater? And how can the business sector also benefit from developments in the cultural sector?

Do it right, or don’t do it at all.

For DAS Theater, feedback is not something you sometimes do or exchange on a one-to-one basis, but it is a core activity of their master’s program. Everyone, from management to students to employees and external stakeholders, commits to the methodology. The method is aimed at creating the right climate and a good mindset for giving and receiving feedback. A climate in which everyone takes responsibility for each other. In short: do it well, or don’t do it at all.

Accuracy is the key to opening new doors

It is a game, with clear rules, in which the participants go through a number of steps at a rapid pace. These steps ensure that the feedback is accurate, and that the recipient is able to see it separately from the person. With this method, giving and receiving feedback for all participants is a valuable process. Because both the facilitator and the participants are forced and helped to formulate very precisely and clearly, the feedback applicants experience the input as a gift. The strength of the group is used to really help the inquirer. As a result, new doors are opened.

Room for reflection and further development

Emke Idema and Annefleur Schep are both alumni of DAS Theater and facilitators of the DAS feedback method. “We are used to the fact that as the asker for feedback you often have the feeling that you have to say something back. Moreover, in a group you often have a number of people who say a lot, but also many people who do not say anything. You take that out with this method”, Emke Idema points out as one of the great advantages of the method. In addition, Annefleur Schep states: “As a maker, after a feedback session, you can better see what your material is, it helps to adjust. You learn what your ideas mean for other people. Your thinking becomes more articulate and your thinking becomes much bigger. This could certainly be an eye-opener for new concepts, products and initiatives in the business world. ”

Curious? In our next blog we will go deeper into a few of the working methods that are used and the impact they have on the makers.

About this blogĀ 

In the art world, new methods, ideas and concepts are developed daily that can contribute to the innovation and change power of organizations. Sandra Boer and Robert Tordoir, founders of Art Partner, discover these – often hidden – gems and determine exactly which part of the artistic process is interesting for organizations. They write a monthly blog forĀ Management & Consulting.

Image: De Beeldvormers (source: Everybody Matters)