How to spot and process insights

Advice, including


When we see something that looks like it might be an insight, it can be tempting to make it meaningful because it is the first thing to appear. This is helpful to be aware of when we’re trying to make sense out of a mountain of research. It’s a good idea to note what stands out to you as you make your way through the chaos but try not to figure everything out as you identify these things. Just flag it and set it aside until you’re ready to look at the nuggets together.


In other words, be patient.

Zen and the art of insight generation (by Kyra Aylsworth)


4 productivity profiles – which are you?

Article explains three sets of actions that producing stuff consists of: Mapping, Making and Meshing. The four productivity profiles follow from possible combinations:

Mapping + Making – Meshing = Driver

Mapping + Meshing – Making = Dreamer

Meshing + Making – Mapping = Drifter

Mapping + Making + Meshing = Developer

So, if you really want to get stuff done, be a developer. Easier said than done but the article gives some guidelines (and advertises a book on the topic). Which productivity profile are you? by Todd Henry, Taxi.

Stealing from others

Don’t copy the product, copy the strategy. And don’t copy from your own industry:

If you manufacture tablet devices, don’t embarrass yourself by drawing inspiration from the closest tablet manufacturer. Instead, figure out why you prefer to order pizza from the place across town rather than the place by your office, why you’ll never again let that barber with all the piercings cut your hair, and why you still pay to see every single movie starring Harrison Ford, and draw your inspiration from there.

(The right way to steal ideas, Fast company)

Why designers must learn to think for themselves

Great (and critical towards (higher) education) essay by William Dereziewicz about the challenge of becoming original thinker in a culture (such as university), which appreciates following of orders. Dereziewicz is talking about USA and to a military graduates, but I find the following quote alarmingly accurate description of small but increasing group of  design students who, instead of wanting to think for themselves, demand detailed guiding towards a “right” solution.

We have a crisis of leadership in America because our overwhelming power and wealth, earned under earlier generations of leaders, made us complacent, and for too long we have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going. Who can answer questions, but don’t know how to ask them. Who can fulfill goals, but don’t know how to set them. Who think about how to get things done, but not whether they’re worth doing in the first place. What we have now are the greatest technocrats the world has ever seen, people who have been trained to be incredibly good at one specific thing, but who have no interest in anything beyond their area of exper­tise. What we don’t have are leaders.

What we don’t have, in other words, are thinkers. People who can think for themselves. People who can formulate a new direction: for the country, for a corporation or a college, for the Army—a new way of doing things, a new way of looking at things. People, in other words, with vision.


(Solitude and leadership, The American scholar)

It’s good to have amusing side projects

Graphic designer on how it is good to have, along the briefed, commercial projects, projects of truly unlimited freedom (for her, it is constant doodling =). (Why creative people need multiple outlets, GOOD)

But it is not only visual people, who have funny outlets. Writer Philip Pullman has entertained his fans by tweeting about the adventures of his study’s housefly, while writing much waited Book of Dust. (Author Philip Pullman explains why he’s spent the past few months tweeting about a housefly, Fast Company)