In 2008, a student asked Grayson Perry, Britain’s leading contemporary artist, how he figured out what his art should be about. Perry was stumped.
It is a question that many business owners grapple with – what do their customers buy from them, what do they want next, where should they invest next, and how can they control the process?
Perry responded by mapping out the three areas where he had to pay attention. He called these areas of focus:
- Things you like the look of
- Things you care about
- Things that hipsters haven’t noticed yet!
Using a Venn diagram to illustrate his point, Perry pointed to its heart where the three circles intersect and said: work here.
To develop, an artist needs to work ahead of the curve, search out patterns in the society around them and talk to friends about ideas.
For a business, we could describe this distillation as finding a problem that needs fixing, working out if there is money to make from the fix, and executing your solution.
While you may scoff at learning from artists, be aware that achieving success as an artist is complex. Tracey Emin, another successful artist, made a video about the steps an aspiring creative person should follow – and then admitted that she got lucky when Charles Saatchi started to collect her work.
There are no rules. But making a map to define your strategy is the starting point for a playbook for success.