The Designer’s Paradox – the key to unlocking the brief

Oliver Broadbent miming weighing up different factors to illustrate the concept of the Designer's Paradox

For me the Designer’s Paradox is a key concept in helping people understand what the process of design is. The term was coined by my colleague at Think Up Ed McCann.

The Designer’s Paradox states that the client doesn’t know what they want until they know what they can have

Ed McCann – see Think Up (2018). Conceptual Design for Structural Engineers (online) – notes and resources. Available here [Accessed: January 2021].

In this post I’ll explain why I think this observation is so useful and how we can use it.

Continue reading “The Designer’s Paradox – the key to unlocking the brief”

Creative surplus and how to get some

Creative surplus is what you invest in order to create new ideas. Like operating surplus – or profit – it is what is left over when an organisation or individual’s basic operating needs are met, which is available to invest in growth of the next project. Rather than pounds and resources, creative surplus is the mental space and energy available to you to think creatively. Unlike profit, I see that creative surplus is something that most organisations spend little time thinking about.

Continue reading “Creative surplus and how to get some”

Think, feel, do – shorter emails

I picked up this tip at home yesterday – thanks Mary. It’s a formula for getting to the point when writing emails. What do you want the person to think, what do you want them to feel and what do you want them to do. That’s it. You can save background context for another time for further down the email if you wish.

As an added challenge, see if you can get it down to three sentences.

Two facilitation lessons from Strictly

Facilitation means making something easier. It isn’t about controlling; it’s about following, listening and enabling. In a workshop setting, it’s about having the confidence to let go of control and see what happens, and if things don’t go as expected, being confident to step back in and help everyone get back on track.

Watching the Christmas Day Strictly Come Dancing highlights show I saw two pieces of facilitation gold, which are a lesson in what to do when things go wrong and how to put them right again.

Continue reading “Two facilitation lessons from Strictly”