Strong opinions narrow one’s perspective. Strong beliefs sustain through uncertainty. A strong disposition towards empathy opens to understanding. First, there’s clarity of purpose.
In a time of speed and change, I say “Design with wisdom“. I ask “Will the design decision we make today prove to have been wise in 1, 2, 5 years from now? Will it show integrity?”.
My favorite question in design is “What is worth solving?”. It was put forth at the start of MIT’s approach to Design Thinking. Where is it wise to focus our resources and faculties? This is the acumen I strive to improve.
“Why is this problem important to solve?”. Answering this clarifying question becomes a center of gravity to subsequent decision-making, and aligns teams through the challenges of problem-solving together.
Understanding a problem, or a need from the appropriate vantage point is the part of the process I find the most interesting.
Beyond the data that tools and research afford, it is the engagement with users, and the immersion into their world where I find confidence to imagine solutions.
Listening is a multiplier
It has taken me considerable time to develop humility in listening to produce better results in design. Listening is the patience to gather data, input, feedback, criticism, insights and ideas from multiple sources.
Effective design collaborations are developed from team members listening to each other, and leading this dynamic means cultivating empowerment for each voice. I believe that listening is the multiplier of capability within a team.