Tuesday, April 06, 2010

7 questions to ask if your design is stuck – what would a dancer do?

Our blog today was submitted by Brandy Gonsoulin, project and operations manager at STINSON.  She’s also a former dancer, and still a dancer at heart.
I often think back to the multiple dance rehearsals I have been a part of and the great choreography that came out of those sessions.  

Mostly, I think of how we approached the creative process and how it differs from most business brainstorming sessions.  We didn’t get in a room and say “Let’s make something great happen.”  Instead, we started moving and manipulating ideas until something great eventually did happen. And soon one idea would lend itself to another and another and another.  We approached every session like this because we were trained to view our space and movement through a lens that was different from the obvious. We were trained to ask unrealistic questions and challenged to find the answers.

We all know that great design is that which appeals, is usable, solves problems. and, to the most extreme, changes how we function in daily activities.  And where there’s great design, there’s usually greater profit.  Every company in the business of design (and we all are) faces this very challenge of creating an offering/product that will appeal, be usable, and solve problems for its customers – and do it better than the competition.  This development process can sometimes leave most capable teams daunted.

What if the next time you sat down to design, create, invent, or just do your daily tasks, you looked through the lens of a dancer.  And then started posing the problem into questions of movement:
  1. How does/will it move through space?
  2. Who will it interact with?
  3. Can it be reversed, split, or shifted?
  4. What is the energy, intention behind it?
  5. Where does it need to end up?
  6. Is the opposite of the obvious way the most appealing?
  7. Is the music driving the movement, or the other way around? 
The questions can go on and on and will most likely lead your idea down a different path than you and your team may have ever been.

Click here to read an interesting blog on how the study of movement is being applied – in products like the iPhone and Wii Fit technology. 

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