The Trey McIntyre Project (TMP) is a dance company that uses its talents for a different purpose. Instead of selling tickets for large stage shows, TMP performs for different companies to help inspire employees to be creative.
“We’ve decided that we have a real asset, which is the creative process itself. We’re selling that,” said John Michael Schert, the co-founder and executive director of TMP.
The University of Chicago Booth Business School and Hewlett-Packard have both teamed up with Schert and TMP to solicit their advice on how to get inspired.
“Artists live the whole process of inspiration,” Schert explained. “We decided to refine it as a tool. We want companies to understand what they are creating, whether it is a marketing strategy or a health care policy, and get them to think about where they get hung up, and how to find ways around those stopping points to come up with new ideas.”
The dance troupe has been invited to Hewlett-Packard’s Boise office several times as part of the company’s outreach program that supports local nonprofits and artists. HP’s general manager of future technologies, Von Hansen, says watching the performances and speaking with dancers about creativity “pulls our staff out of the same way we do things so that we can better design solutions and solve problems.”
While HP doesn’t pay for TMP’s services, may other clients do. Rates for what they refer to as their “engagement” presentations start at $20,000. Businesses will get a half-day presentation from four members of the dance troupe. Each of TMP’s presentations are personalized to the business they are performing at.
For example, at health insurance company Aetna, TMP takes a more hands-on approach. TMP was hired to help the company’s doctors and nurses improve their interactions with patients. Schert said this meant teaching them about body language.
“We’re changing the role of the artist,” Schert said. “We can help with how ideas are generated and harnessed. It helps companies, and it helps artists state their value.”
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