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December 13, 2010



Thank you - so well said.

After about 15 years of struggling with this, I've finally learned how to stretch that not-committed-to-any-single-design-solution phase of a project as long as humanly possible.

My work is much better for it, and my clients don't seem the least bit traumatized by the indecision. They believe me when I tell them that we're 'staying open to finding a much better solution'.

Matt Currie

Great post David!

There's some excellent phrases in here on the value of making ideas tangible eg. "An idea discarded in the mind is useless to a designer..."

To build on Barb's comment, I observe that not only can this non-committal phase make clients nervous, it can also be extremely frustrating for novice designers and/or other collaborators.

I think that prototyping in the wild can really help with this nervousness and frustration. Prototyping like this says to the team (and the client) "we're not just exploring a wide range of possible solutions on paper, we're showing them to people, testing them out and evaluating them - we're moving forward."

David Sherwin

Thanks Matt & Barb--

Those are really good comments, and I agree that dealing with not only the ambiguity of really challenging design problems, but also the ambiguity in not committing to a solution to those problems, can be quite a friction point on a team. Prototyping in the wild is totally a great way to go, and we do it a lot at my day job. :)

Best, David

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Hello. I'm David Sherwin, a design leader who's written books that help people become better problem solvers and design thinkers. I’m co-founder of Ask The Sherwins LLC with Mary Payner Sherwin, a training and consulting firm dedicated to supporting the growth and development of design-driven organizations and communities.

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