This paper proposes arts and design as translational mechanisms to connect and align stakeholders, particularly in the context of academic entrepreneurship where multiple stakeholders with different expertise and interests work together in joint endeavors. Insights gathered from an ethnographic investigation carried out at metaLAB - an academic laboratory located at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, USA) - build the empirical foundation. Findings show that various forms of arts and design (including poetry, photography, art installations, motion graphics videos, data visualization) play an important role in connecting metaLAB to external stakeholders and in activating multiple value drivers. The adoption of arts- and design-based initiatives allows the translation of different needs and wants of stakeholders into shared meanings, but also supports emotional and cognitive engagement and creative and divergent viewpoints. This paper contributes to existing studies focusing on how arts-based initiatives can support organizations in exploiting their potential for organizational value creation.
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