Tim Brown, the CEO of Ideo, a very good design firm based in San Francisco, has an interesting post on LinkedIn today,"How to Sail Through Creative Uncertainty". Uncertainty arises frequently when the problem is complicated or part of a complex system (where there are many interrelated parts). To get past the uncertainty, Brown recommends:
- Stay calm
- Use group collaboration to expand the range of solutions
- Take small steps forward on the problem rather than jumping to an unfounded conclusion
To this list I would add:
- Have confidence in the process, which in this case is design thinking (which has been applied now in a much wider range of problems than just product design)
- Do not set artificial time limits to resolve the uncertainty, which tend to reduce the quality of thinking and collaboration
Underlying both Brown and my thoughts is the basic recognition that the creativity of design comes from the application of a process. The process facilitates the discovery of the new idea and not the creation of the new idea. The process of discovery enables us to rearrange existing experiences and facts in new ways that produce new ideas.
A video, "Embrace Ambiguity", illustrates the Ideo approach to uncertainty in the design process.