Finding opportunity is everyone’s goal, but learning how to create opportunity will result in more goals for everyone.
“You’ll never catch me bragging about goals, but I’ll talk all you want about my assists.”Wayne Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky is known mostly for his record of most goals scored the NHL with 1,016 goals. The Great One also holds the record for most assists, with 2,223 feeds to other players that set up their goals.
2,223 > 1,106
The lesson in the numbers? Assisting others leads to more goals than your own.
I came across a project in my archives that I feel never got the attention it deserves as an illustration of how how to create opportunity, and, in hockey terms, how to set up the assist for others to score their goals.
Back in the day, artist Thomas Bratzke was more commonly known on the streets of Berlin as ZAST (later changed to ZASD). ZAST 3D tags were ubiquitous throughout Berlin—some installed above abandoned storefronts, some inside subway cars, or standing along in an abandoned space.
He was a prolific, but not random, tagger. His 3D tags would appear in carefully selected areas, framed or playing with an existing texture or location, augmenting what was already there to create a new visual mix.
ZASD often start the process by sketching the location and drafting his tag on top of it in advance to see how it would look when installed. Over time, he found himself interested more on identifying locations that were in need of intervention than doing the intervention itself. The result of this pivot was ZAST Real Estate.
Bratzke set up ZAST Real Estate as a real estate agency that sold nothing but promoted overlooked locations in cities in need of creative intervention. Bratzke’s creation of the ZAST Real Estate brand was thorough:
Patrons to ZAST Real Estate offices in Berlin and Hamburg would fine brochures, catalogues, and window cards showing urban sites where Bratzke felt there was a need for artistic intervention.
Each “listing” would have photos, a detailed description of the site, and its location. People could then “purchase” a location by agreeing to do an intervention there.
It was a brilliant initiative to create a framework for activity instead of doing the activity itself; a lesson in how to create opportunity for others to do work.
For Bratzke, it wasn’t about scoring the goal. It was about providing the assist.
To learn a lot more about the power of conditional thinking, my latest book This Could: How Two Words Can Create Opportunity in an Era of Limited Resources will be of interest.
Header image: expand by Javier Calvo Patiño from the Noun Project