A Malleable Future

 “For a designer, people, services, and things are malleable, and a more positive set of experiences is always right around the corner.
Jon Kolko

Optimism isn’t just a feeling or mindset. It’s fuel for our creativity that empowers teams to explore the unknown and put forth new ideas with confidence.

In our industry we see optimism come to life in a myriad of ways, eg; the principles of Just Enough, believing we don’t need everything before we take a leap, and; Failing Fast, knowing that by accepting and learning from our failure we’ll emerge more successful on our next go ‘round. On the surface these practices keep our teams lean and help us work efficiently, but there’s also an underlying theme of optimism, in that 1. We believe we can make anything better; 2. We believe in our abilities to do so, and 3. It’s ok if we don’t immediately know how.

Of late, the WINTR team has been studying, writing and speaking about leveraging empathy in our work. As we’ve done so we’ve come to the realization that in order to do our jobs well -- to transform ordinary experiences into preferred ones --  we must remain optimistic at our core. This internal optimism enables us to imagine a better future; one filled with more valuable, meaningful experiences and interactions for a broader and more inclusive set of audiences.

Staying optimistic isn’t always easy, of course. The process we move through to reinvent the immediate future is consistently met by likely foes uncertainty and anxiety, born from our need to place constraints and rigidity around any type of exploration. We experience it ourselves from time to time, but as a team we’re learning to apply these seemingly tactical pieces of rigor at the right point in our process, for example done when criteria for user stories or experience mandatories for concepting frameworks, putting us in a better position succeed both as individual contributors and collectively as a team.   

These constraints help us weed out and prioritize our solutions, focus our attention on products and services that meet real needs of real people, and ultimately achieve greater business results on behalf of our clients. But these constraints can only be leveraged after we envision, after we imagine what preferred looks like. After we empower our internal optimism to fuel our pursuit to a better future.


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Filed under: Perspective