Michael Covel has an “out of the box” interview today with Amy Herman. In 2000 Amy started a program called, The Art of Perception at The Frick Collection in New York City. She helps her students figure out how to fix big picture problems by looking at the small details. Her new book is “Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life.”
Amy starts the podcast off sharing a story referred to by Michael as “the soap story.” It is about a man from Uganda who was moved by how wasteful the hotel industry is. His big picture movement started with a bar of soap. The staff at a hotel he had been staying at cleaned his room and replaced a bar of soap that he had only used a few times. He contacted the front desk of the hotel and asked why his soap had been replaced when it had not fully been used up. The front desk explained that they replace all the soaps everyday regardless of how much had been used. What came of this small encounter? This man from Uganda jumpstarted a movement that changed the way the hotel industry operates by being more mindful of the how much needless waste they are creating. It was a small detail that changed a big picture problem.
Next, Amy shares an “aha” moment she had in college about art. She went from practicing law to studying museum education which led to her founding The Art of Perception at The Frick Collection in New York City. The program began with teaching medical students about art and how to translate it into their own profession. She started the program in 2000 and in 2004 she was having dinner with some friends which sparked the idea of expanding the program to the police field. It was wildly accepted and in no time, the program was expanded to just about every other professional field. Amy goes into some examples of her students that took her class and that have shared real life examples with her. Her students have been able to apply her teachings to everything from helping diagnose patients to solving crimes. It is all about the small details in the big picture.
Amy says her program has been so successful for two reasons; art is powerful and art is not threatening. She requests that her students do not take notes, and there are no cell phones allowed during class. All that is needed is your eyes, brain, and your ability to communicate. She doesn’t want to teach people how to see art, but rather teaches what she refers to as the five “A’s”: Assess, analyze, articulate information, adapt your behavior, and become accountable for your decisions.
Amy talks about listening to your sixth sense but also being able to articulate what you are feeling so you can act on it. She stresses that precise and consistent communication is paramount and gives some real life examples of why it is so important and what could happen when that ground work is not laid down.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio: