The art and science of innovation

“Making money is art and working is art, and good business is the best art,” once said the acclaimed pop artist Andy Warhol.

And unveiled on October 14 at The Andy Warhol Muesum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US, was a sculpture celebrating 100 years of synthetic rubber use since its invention in 1909 by Fritz Hofmann.

Called “Wheel of Fortune” and commissioned by German specialty chemical and synthetic rubber producer LANXESS – the sculpture is a three-dimensional timeline depicting the expansion in the worldwide production of synthetic rubber through the years.

DSC05755.JPGLANXESS, with the help of the museum, reached out to 15 global artists and asked them how they would interpret the 100th anniversary of synthetic rubber while using LANXESS synthetic rubber as a medium.

The Wheel of Fortune by Ryan Alexiev, Loren Madsen and Hank Willis Thomas was selected as the winner.

The amazing growth of synthetic rubber would not be possible without a continual process of innovation, shaping and altering its characteristics to suit specialized needs – from high-performance car tires that hug the curb at high speeds, to strong and flexible bungee ropes, to gaskets, garden hoses and shoe soles.

“This is a perfect venue for this event. When you think of Warhol, you think of innovation, out-of-the-box thinking, risk-taking and an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Randy Dearth, CEO of the the company’s North American arm LANXESS Corp., at its “Unnatural Rubber” celebration. “We believe all these traits helped us become a success five years after our spinoff.”

In September, LANXESS was selected as the ICIS Company of the Year for outstanding financial performance in 2008.

“I make my living in the chemical industry with a focus on innovation and science,” said Dearth. “However, I have always believed there was an art to science and conversely a science to art.”

The art of innovation is truly what keeps the tires rolling in the fast-track evolution of business.


Video and photo credits: ICIS

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