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Loose Lips Sink Designs

For my interface class, I'm having my students design an adaptive product. I made the mistake the other day of giving my students an example of an adaptive product. Off the top of my head, I used an example of an adaptive kitchen, one that changes its behavior and even physical appearance based on the observed behavior of its users. Guess what half my students are now doing for their project?

I've seen this before with clients and even teammates. You mention a half-thought, thinking outloud, and this somehow becomes the solution, at least in their minds. And it is extremely difficult to dislodge once it is latched onto. "Where's X?" they'll ask at a review. "X? You mean that thing I mentioned in the brainstorming session?" "Yeah, I thought we were building that." "Huh?" etc.

I'm not sure what the solution to this problem is, to be honest, except to watch what you say and around whom. Or to just downplay every idea until you are ready and willing to start making those sorts of choices. Always say the three magic words after everything: "Just an idea," followed by a shrug and a "who knows?" face.

We're all prone to jumping to a solution. Especially men. But design is a feminine art; we need to resist absolutism and stay as flexible as possible for as long as possible.

Originally posted at Monday, April 11, 2005 | Comments (0) | Trackback (0)

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