Is design becoming a machine-like process?

Design problems are not static and the framework used to understand a problem shouldn't be fixed. Human nature is to categorize and define reality. Design shouldn't work this way because it will limit one's perception of a problem.

When a process or framework dominates the conversation, it is time to step back and take a fresh look at what you are actually doing.

Instead, focus on developing the following skills:

  • Powers of observation - Watch people and their actions, interactions with others, and their answers closely. It can aid in understanding the dynamics of an organization or system.
  • Dialogue - Can you effectively converse with customers, team members, or leadership?
  • Note-taking skills - Can you draw or write and quickly capture the essence of a problem or idea?
  • Appreciate silence - Give people time to think. Also watch what happens when a room goes silent. Who speaks next or reacts? 
  • Suspension - Withhold judgement and see all sides of a problem.
  • Positive and Negative - Strive to see the whole. Understand the lack of something and what that means.
  • Structure - Understand how something is organized and the resulting implications. Look for and understand the meaning of patterns and why they occur.

These skills will help you transcend any process and help you get to the heart of a problem and a solution faster.