Strategy for WideArt Gallery – My View of the Riddle

Editable vector silhouettes of diverse people at an art gallery or museum

Jack Vinson asked me: What is your biggest challenge today?

This riddle represents my challenge! Convince you to use TOC for developing Strategy for yourself, your organization and your clients (if you are a consultant). I define Strategy, with a capital S, as a plan to achieve the goal.

If you did not read the riddle, I suggest you do it now, before you read my view.

The future of any organizations depends on its Strategy. Being lucky can help or damage, but much more depends on the effectiveness of the Strategy and the execution.

Strategy starts with the goal. From 2002 onwards Goldratt tried to teach us to move from the goal of “more money now and in the future” towards the higher-level idea of ever-flourishing organization where T (throughput) grows consistently faster than OE (operating expenses), while being stable.

The value of art is definitely about pleasure (category #3 of value), which highly depends on taste, which varies considerably in spite of being guided by some “rules”, including the price tag, and subject to influence of opinion leaders and fashion.

What I look for is a state where the variability actually supports the business objectives!

The answer by Kevin Kohls started by improvement of the flow of sales of the gallery, and then he expanded to something bigger. Kevin did not ignore the role of Rudolf as an opportunity. Let me cite Kevin’s bigger vision:

He may also pitch ways to break his space constraint – expanding his gallery, renting space in more promising areas, setting up galleries outside of Philadelphia, leveraging other businesses that are in Rudolf sphere of influence, having a special gala that Rudolf attends with some of the high throughput artists, etc.  He should also give some thought about the problems that will arise with success – how to manage the growth of this business without generating any additional undesirable effects.”

My own vision for WideArt Gallery is:

Running an international chain of WideArt Galleries

The chain should ship a lot of art between the galleries and by that enliven the display everywhere and increase the chance of finding a buyer for every item.  Thus, the tricky prediction of whether a specific work of art is going to be sold at the given price is vastly reduced.  Different locations are subject to different arbitrary influences concerning art and culture.  The cost of shipping of relatively cheap pictures would be just a small part of the T generation.  At least, this is my assumption.

Several additional excellent ideas, which could be incorporated within this vision, have been raised by the answers to the riddle:

  1. David Peterson raised the brilliant idea of art loans, similar to the idea of a library. This kind of idea answers a potential need that nobody else offers.  I think that it is easier to let the buyers of any item the right to replace the item by another from the same price range, once a year. I think that such a move could prove itself to be a decisive-competitive-edge.
  2. Digital display. Let me cite from Fishamaphone’s answer (it was mentioned by others as well): “Reserve a certain section of art works and have them digitally scanned at as high a resolution as possible, and place them on high-definition displays in a slideshow configuration… This solves the problem of physical area, while also ensuring that a patron receives a totally unique experience every time they enter the gallery.” This idea should certainly be implemented also as a website.
  3. Using pictures under consignment. Actually many galleries are doing exactly that. The downside of consignment is that it is often a compromise: not everything the artist wants to display the gallery believes it should be.  Displaying items on consignment is bounded by time, as the artist likes to get his works back and try somewhere else. For a chain of galleries it is be easier to get better choice and arrangements for such consignments, as the works are going to be displayed at a variety of different locations.

The arrangement of the four rooms, with the most expensive art at room #4, attracted various reactions.   Is it good to have the expensive pictures in one room? I assume most visitors come in to watch art without any intention to buy. The expensive pictures attract such visitors. Point is – they might see something they truly like and are able to afford. I believe that most of the visitors look, even briefly, also at the pictures in the other rooms. Should the gallery mix all pictures together? I’m not sure, but as we deal with psychology rather than robust cause and effect I simply suggest testing this paradigm in one gallery for a month and then decide.

The above ideas should be integrated and used for planning a full strategy and tactic tree (S&T).  I cannot stress enough my view that we all need to go deeply into Strategy.  I intend to pursue this topic more in my future posts.


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Eli Schragenheim

My love for challenges makes my life interesting. I'm concerned when I see organizations ignore uncertainty and I cannot understand people blindly following their leader.

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