The Managerial Odyssey 2024 - Stage 1 - The Istituto Fisicoterapico di Torino - The Importance of Thinking Outside the Box: The Example of an Art Gallery in an Italian Healthcare Center.

In this article, we talk about the importance of physically stepping out of the work environment, illustrated by an example of the link between art and management 😎

The Istituto Fisicoterapico di Torino (IFT) is a general healthcare center that houses an art gallery. Surprising, isn’t it? We explain the concept and why it’s an inspiring management practice…

🕐 Reading time: 3 min

An Art Gallery in a Healthcare Center: The Importance of Thinking Outside the Box


  1. An Art Gallery in a Healthcare Center: Why?
  2. Learning in Terms of Management
  3. What Surprised Us the Most

1. An Art Gallery in a Healthcare Center: Why?

During our visit to Turin, we met Virginia, the director of three health facilities in her hometown. Among these is the Istituto Fisicoterapico di Torino, or the Turin Institute of Physiotherapy.

Originally, Virginia studied art in the United Kingdom, where she dedicated herself to contemporary art. In 2016, she returned to Turin to take over the family businesses. Since art was an integral part of her life, she decided to inaugurate an art gallery within the IFT for two reasons:

  • To develop and professionalize contemporary art in Turin
  • To create a new space for her teams, allowing them to step out of the traditional work environment

It was the latter point that caught our attention. And we thought Virginia’s vision might interest you.

According to her, art is a way to generate creativity among her collaborators. A way to inspire, to break the mold, but also to adapt to the world’s evolution. For the IFT, it means modernizing. Art is thus a powerful management tool, whatever its use. It reminded us of some organizations that are reviving the practice of theater in the workplace. For Virginia, there’s a big difference between holding a meeting in her office, where the hierarchy is emphasized by the room and space arrangement; and having the same meeting in the art gallery, sitting on the floor among the artworks. It also helps her to flatten the hierarchy.

🎯 Her goals in creating this new space:

👉 Generate new ideas/perspectives by organizing meetings in a different location

👉 Reduce stress related to hierarchical barriers during team or one-on-one meetings

👉 Offer a new venue for informal moments

👉 Familiarize her teams, clients, and patients with art

2. Learning in Terms of Management

In terms of management, this example is very enriching. Physically moving teams out of their usual environment allows for:

  • Breaking the routine to stimulate creativity
  • Lowering hierarchical barriers
  • Promoting group cohesion
  • Creating a trustful environment with informal moments
  • Encouraging open-mindedness, which can later make us more open to change.

And as a manager, here are Virginia’s learnings:

  • Just because you think you have a great idea for the company doesn’t mean it will necessarily be well received by the teams
  • Changing a mindset and/or a company culture is a long process (3-5 years)
  • The CEO or manager cannot act alone (in reality…nobody can)
  • As a CEO, you must be careful about how you introduce and communicate a new project to win your teams’ trust and support → in our example, the gallery was not well received by the healthcare center’s employees at first, the majority not understanding its purpose and preferring to use the space differently. Virginia’s role is to reassure them by explaining the project, sharing her vision, and then taking the time to familiarize them with this new space and way of working.

💡 To start, we advise trying one-on-one meetings outdoors: take a walk, a stroll in the forest, or go to the nearby café. It’s good to breathe some fresh air during the day!

3. What Surprised Us the Most...

The sector! We’re talking about an Italian healthcare center that has been around for over 120 years and has housed a contemporary art gallery for 2 years. It’s crazy!

In this context, the act of moving teams outside of their usual environment is particularly inspiring, as it’s unexpected. In reality, this simply does not happen in this sector, which is still very hierarchical and traditional. This shows us even more the benefits of this practice, as well as the lessons and points of caution to keep in mind when wanting to transform, regardless of the change.

More generally, the link between art and management deserves to be investigated because, regardless of the end goal, art can be a very powerful management tool. Something to think about…

Thank you for reading this article ❣️

Authors: Vincent and Clémentine, The Managerial Odyssey 2024.