Thursday, June 9, 2011

Be a Skeptimist

Did everyone get a chance to listen to Don Norman's lecture on Service design? Dr. Oren posted the link on the Service Design project page. If you didn't see it, here it is: Norman's Lecture

I loved this talk. The service design part is great. But that's not the part I wanted to point out.

During the lecture, Norman talks about a personal rule that he uses when consulting: "I don't ever solve the problem that I was hired to solve." He goes on to say that the hardest part of design – is figuring out the problem you should be trying to solve in the first place.

Typically when I start a project I am given a rundown on the project goals, scope and background. In short – the problem the stakeholder is trying to solve. And more often than not, the project is only a symptom of a different root issue. For me, this is the best part – trying to extract the real problem and then articulating a more effective solution.

But sometimes that's easier said than done.

We have all experienced the start of a new project so many, many times, that sometimes it's easy to become weary, and stop challenging the status quo. So I write this post as a reminder to myself – to be a skeptimist. A reminder to never take someone's word for it. To dig into the behaviors and the root causes. And a challenge to always strive to be a critical thinker and start with the why.

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