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The ART of Leadership Development

Developing leaders is not a simple, one size fits all process. Leaders have different styles, strengths, and challenges. Any learning program needs to support diverse learning styles and be relevant to the specific context and situation facing leaders in their work environment.

At Insight Experience, we use a proprietary methodology we call ART to meet learners’ needs. The three elements of ART interplay to create high-impact, actionable learning for leaders. ART helps leaders understand their strengths, develop new skills, and apply that learning back on the job.

What are the elements of ART and how does it accelerate leadership development?

ART focuses on connections. Effective learning design connects content to business needs, insights to application, learners to each other, and individual reflection with practice and experience.


ART begins with Artful Design. This starts with a thoughtful understanding of the specific needs and opportunities facing leaders in your organization. Those learning needs may focus on developing foundational leadership skills, expanding leadership perspective, or reinforcing organizational culture.  

Artful Design connects three critical elements— Content, Experience, and Reflection — to create an engaging, tailored program design. Insight Experience program designs can be as short as two to four hours and as extended as 12­­–18 weeks. The programs can focus on one core idea or develop leaders across multiple learning objectives. The programs can be run for as few as eight to ten leaders or for hundreds. What is consistent in all of our programs is the opportunity to experience leadership. Our programs include case studies, business simulations, and role-plays that challenge leaders to put content into action. Our learning designs always include reflection. Leaders do not simply learn by doing; leaders learn by reflecting on the doing. Taking the time to pause and reflect is a challenge for busy leaders and managers, but learning only happens in that intentional pause. ARTful design connects content, experience, and reflection to support learning for each individual.

artful_design_RART builds on Artful Design with Robust Facilitation. An effective program design is the foundation, but robust facilitation brings a learning experience to life. Facilitators with strong business backgrounds and leadership knowledge ask probing questions, help learners see connections, and can reframe situations so leaders see new possibilities. Robust facilitation is participant-centric and highly interactive in order to drive learning and encourage engagement among peers in a new way.

artful_design_TART cannot exist without Targeted Connections Any learning program is just that — an event, a program. Targeted reinforcement that connects learning to action back on the job is a critical lever to help leaders apply new skills and build new leadership muscles. Targeted connections can include post-program peer groups, a cadence of reinforcing content blogs and posts, or periodic reinforcement through single-scenario Insights To Go to keep content top of mind for your team of leaders.

Leadership development is an art. Leaders need to engage with and value the learning experience in order to be willing to try new skills and take a different approach when they go back to the workplace. The ART of leadership development is to understand the context, engage leaders through the experience, and enable them to reflect on the insights that are most relevant to them.

ART is at the core of what we do at Insight Experience.


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Amanda Young Hickman is a Founding Partner at Insight Experience, a Boston-based firm delivering contextually rich business simulations and learning experiences to accelerate and integrate leadership, business acumen and strategy execution. 

Amanda Young Hickman
Amanda Young Hickman
Amanda Young Hickman has over 20 years of experience advising and leading clients on the design and implementation of strategic change initiatives and leadership development experiences. She is an expert facilitator and a seasoned program designer who works in all phases of learning experience design and delivery. Amanda is a founding partner of Insight Experience and believes in the impact a leader has on an organization and its results.