Live Intentionally

Where do you accept the defaults? When do you get to decide how life goes? Why take life as it’s handed to you when you can make it what you want?

Life happens. It is always moving along, moving forward, moving on. You put plans in place or plans are made for you and it’s easy to be in the flow of it. But what if the flow is now the direction you want it to go?

I had plans to stay on after three days of workshops in Hawaii. I got the tickets with just enough time to fly off to Kauai and hike for four days then return on a late night flight back to SFO. But when the campsites were full I had my plans changed for me and stayed on Oahu.

After checking out on the last day with no inter-island flight to catch back go Honolulu, I had 12 hours to wait for a flight which I no longer needed so late. That meant the red-eye flight back and leaving at 11pm.

This was the moment – to stop the flow of plans and see what the options were. I went to the counter and just asked for what I wanted. And now I am writing this on flight 10 hours earlier than my plan, upgrade included! That means an good nights sleep and a fresh start – just because I didn’t accept the default plan.

Design Thinking requires that you always have an observer eye looking from above to see “what should we do next?” Design Thinking is not a process – no matter how many bubble diagrams people draw. You never know what you need until you are in that moment. More empathy? Another iteration? Back to brainstorming? What comes next?

And, It can be anything and some of the currents are very strong.

  • Working Meetings The reigning corporate culture is to book a room, bring your laptop, sit down, flip up, tune in or out depending on your interest, your day, and your inbox. And it’s true whether you schedule the meeting or you attend. If it was a brainstorm meeting – you need to loose the table and add music, open space, and people gathered around a vertical surface.
  • Interviews Common wisdom dictates that people come in suits, they are asked questions, put on the spot and tested. Microsoft brings in engineers to play 8 hours of pictionary and learns how they work in a collaborative environment. Why not change the game to get what you need?
  • Staff Meetings Every week, every month in the conference room or the cafeteria report out the status and Q&A. The new software movements like SCRUM and agile turned that idea on it’s head with daily standup meetings because it’s what you need now what you did.

Where are the the places you are defaulting? What are the obvious routines, the ongoing traditions, the project planning you did months ago that need to change?

Office Ah Ha!

What is right under your nose? What are you overlooking? What does it take to open your eyes to it?

Looking at the world with beginners eyes sounds easy and is a lifelong pursuit. There are things hiding right in front of you all the time, and all it takes is a slight shift to see things differently.

For the past two years I have been teaching a creativity and innovation class where more than one class is spent looking at how space effects how we think and work.

  • If you set up rows of chairs, people come in, sit down, and wait for the entertainment to happen on stage.
  • If you setup small cafe tables and chairs, they will sit and start chatting.
  • If you have an open space with higher ceilings people generate bigger ideas.

Space matters.

For those same two years, I have had a home office. I moved into a new place and set up my desk, filing cabinets, bookshelves, etc. And I have been in there about 15 times. Where do I work? In my bedroom with vaulted ceilings and big windows that look out on the Pacific Ocean.

On day in class as I heard the words coming out of my mouth – “Don’t default to what space you are given, be intentional and set your space to what you need for the task” it hit me.

I don’t need a desk. I don’t need file cabinets in my “office”. I don’t need and office. I need a creativity chamber. I need a brainstorming parlor. I need open space and whiteboards on every vertical surface.

I saw my life through beginners eyes again to the real need.

So, now I have a new project to prototype and some office furniture to move.

What is sitting right in front of you that needs a new perspective? How will you change your viewpoint? Where can you reframe?