How do you change? What would you change if you could? If you changed one thing, what else would change with it?
In his article Successfully Integrate Your Work Life, Stew Friedman looks at rebalancing life, work and self by changing how you integrate them together.
If you are like me, you would love to make some changes in your life – but how? We each are like massive planets in orbit in our lives. When we try to move a little bit from where we are – the other planets in the solar system tend to pull us back to our nice safe gravity well of status quo.
Stew suggest that you start with some small experiments – life experiments. In design thinking this we might call them prototypes. But why not prototype changes to your life.
Small changes, that you spend little time on are easy to abandon, transform, or take the next small step.
Big changes, where you make a radical change, gear up, spend time and money pressure us to “make it work” or “succeed” and failure comes with huge stopping power.
Try it now
- Choose anything you would like to change in your life.
- What is the minimal step you could take that moves it a little bit – maybe even right now as you sit there reading this.
- Try it a few times and hold these questions in your mind while you try – “how is this working? what else would make this a little better?”
The main idea here is when you want to change – Don’t try to boil the ocean! make small tests, steps, changes and see how it works.
What can you start changing today with a small change? What is a big change you are trying to make that you can simplify? What have you tried that didn’t work so far?
What is the minimum you can get away with starting? Where are you trying to start by boiling the ocean? What can you do that is the littlest step forward?
This week I met up with my family for a reunion of fun. It was the first time we had all been together in years and we did a lot of – what have you been up to? What do you DO anyway? Where are things going.
One of my cousins (technically first cousin once removed) and her boyfriend have a dream of opening a restaurant. They are building experience working with another owner and learning the ropes and both have quite a bit of experience given that they are both in their mid twenties.
The big idea is vegan and vegetarian pizzas that bring their lifestyle and his italian heritage and family restaurant experience together with their passion for opening a restaurant. But, they lack capital and experience with running things completely on their own.
After I explained design thinking we had a series of brainstorming sessions over the next two days refining the idea. We went from a brick and mortar restaurant in another state – which is the final dream – down to a pop-up kitchen version that they can try for a single day at farmers markets with minimal entry costs and a lot to learn from the experience.
This is the minimal viable product or a low resolution prototype of their ultimate idea. Within that they have already determined several questions to be answered by this small step and it has propelled them into action!
That is the power of prototyping – it gets you started and learning.
What project are you working on that needs some action? What is the minimal viable version of that?
Don’t wait. Do something small.
When you have an idea what do you do? Where do you start? Why do you stop?
Bias toward action is a key principle of design thinking. You need to DO not THINK to be a design thinker.
Step 1: For instance – this blog. I decided to write it and then opened up Drafts on my ipad and started typing. I have enough blogging experience to know that it’s the posts, not the theme that makes a blog a blog.
Step 2: Once I had two of them written – I needed a place to post them. But I was just heading out on another trip. Good thing I had my phone in my car. I created the blog in the cab on the way to the airport.
Step 3: Drafts has a great feature of being able to do “actions” on what you type. So in about 30 seconds I had an action “Send to Design Thinking Life” which sends email to my blog as a post.
Step 4: Post. They were already written – all I had to do was send them while sitting in the lounge eating yogurt peanuts and individually wrapped cheese.
Step 5: Write another post. Realizing how much I use design thinking every day gives an endless set of topics for posting. So while I drink a complementary champagne from my upgrade to business seat – I will reflect on my bias toward action.
As my friend Bernie says – “all reasons are bullshit”, and once you know that – there is no reason not to start. Now!
What is your idea waiting for action?
GO DO IT!
What do you do? What are you as a minimal viable product? How can you get that across in 30 seconds? In 3 minutes? In 30 minutes?
Personal branding has been a buzzy topic for several years now. As you move farther into the Information Age, working with others, collaborating, and communicating who you are and what you has become a critical business skill.
So, in some sense, we all have to sell ourselves to others. We have to sell others on our ideas. We need to get them on board.
As a consultant I need to let people know what I can do to make them more effective, more creative, more… something. And that means explaining to them how experiential activities feel.
The reason Prototyping is part of the design thinking process is that it gives the user a chance to experience the idea in a tangible way and give feedback. Using low-resolution prototyping can be a great way of explaining your idea or yourself.
So I use low resolution versions of what I do to introduce them in a real way. That can be a short user journey story, a quick exercise, or a small group interaction with a few people around a conference room table.
If you can develop low resolution ways to show your idea to others it can help them understand it an a deeper way and get them more engaged. That can make all the difference on getting them on board with you.
Give it a try, try again.