Think like an artist to grow your business.

Many people are familiar with "design thinking", or when you take a designer's approach to a problem. As a designer as well as an artist, this is second nature to me. I feel that an artist's process is similar to this, but it has additional unique benefits. I call this "art thinking".

The classic stereotype of the artist is an undisciplined, intoxicated savant who works only when the muse strikes. On the contrary, most artists I know are incredibly disciplined workers who have a unique ability to focus on problems and develop unique solutions. I seek to dispel the negative stereotype and encourage artists to recognize that their cognitive skills as an artist are well suited to success in "non-art" endeavors. If you use art thinking and apply it to your business, you can achieve success.

What is art thinking?

Art thinking is a methodology. It is a repeatable process that emphasizes creativity in problem solving. It overlaps with design thinking in several areas, but has a special emphasis on intuition, making connections, creating, iterating, and critiquing.

Artists embrace the process as much as the product. They are comfortable taking a critical approach to their own work and the world around them. They are adept at research, planning, conceptualization, creating, execution, problem-solving, and assessment.

What skills do artists bring to business?

The world needs more deep thinkers and people with vision. Every business needs creative problem-solving. More than just creativity, the processes that artists use translate well to the needs of businesses.

Conceptualization: Artists are adept at using visual tools to explain concepts, from drawing to mapping to visualizing relationships between interconnected elements. Artists are trained to see, explore possibilities, and dive deeply into their subjects.

Focus: Artists possess a clear sense of focus and their mission is motivation (not money). Artists often work alone and are able to bring a deep, intelligent analysis to a subject.

Connections: Artists are skilled at brainstorming and free-flowing thought. Artists often seek to question or change the meaning of things.

Ideation: The nature of an artist’s practice is constant exploration and prototyping. Once an idea is conceptualized, it is tested, created, reflected upon, refined, and recreated. Artists are adaptable and open to new possibilities of developing ideas. Their practice is based on invention and reinvention.

Context: Artists are constantly looking at other art and contexts to understand why it works. Artists are used to thinking holistically and making interdisciplinary connections. They often seek to take things out of their original context to develop new ideas. This often leads to unexpected and serendipitous conclusions.

Intuition: Artists observe human desires, needs, emotions, and behavior with a sharp, discerning eye. Artists are comfortable with ambiguity and able to tolerate uncertainty and open-ended questions.

Humanity: Artists tell stories. They understand authenticity. They seek to connect to humanity and the meaning of life.

Physicality: Artists think by making or creating. They understand the physical object as well as a higher metaphysical, human connection to life. 

Limitations: Artists are comfortable working within constraints and limited resources.

Feedback: Artists are comfortable with a critique. They are used to rejection. They seek to reflect on their own work and solicit feedback from others. Sensitive and intuitive, they can function well on teams.