Our first choice is not always the best choice. The first option may be convenient and meet a need for perceived progress but the results can be less than desired.
Do you click the first link during a Google search, even when the first result has clearly paid for search engine optimization? Did you propose to the first person you dated, on the first date? Did the pilot of your flight land the plane the moment they saw the destination city? Did we nominate the new Board Chair based on the first name mentioned in a passing conversation?
Taking a moment to consider options often leads to better results. In our rush, frenzy, and scattered moments, we settle for anything that looks like a decision. Is it better to make any ferry, even when it heads to the wrong island or is waiting for the right boat a better choice?
What if we commit to looking for at least three options when we reach a decision point? How might three choices change our deliberations if the available answers range beyond yes or no? What other opportunities might appear when we make room for curiosity? How might adopting a three option mindset exponentially change the impact of your work?
When we forget about the end-user, our design is likely to be flawed. We no longer ask the right questions and adopt an empathetic mindset. If we build a trail, open to hikers, bikers, and equestrians but leave overhanging boulders and rock slabs that cannot accommodate a horse and rider, we are saying ‘this is not really for you.’ The design may have been intended as accessible for multiple user groups, but the construction crew was not thinking about one of the user groups when they built the trail.
How might we avoid building for an end-user but forget to hold their needs above ours? What is convenient during planning and construction might result in unnecessary barriers and frustration for the user.
Where are you headed?
Why are you going that way?
Who benefits if you succeed in reaching your destination?
What do you hope to learn along the way?
Google Street View provides comprehensive data on many European Union member countries. However, Germany and Austria are not well mapped. Due to privacy concerns, much of Germany opted-out or restricted Google from proceeding with its mapping project.
Sometimes we believe we have a complete data set only to learn that we do not see the whole picture. If we do not take into account the human element, we may find by the numbers decision-making leads to unanticipated failure.
After reading the above article, you know that somewhere early in the design phase, someone made an error. A small mistake in the context of all the engineering required to build a submarine. However, the fact that nobody caught the error means that the final design and fabrication created a very expensive anchor that will now rest on the ocean floor if not fixed.
If we embrace the assumptions that everything that was completed before our part of the project was accurate and correct, then we are in for a few surprises. Nobody intentionally hands us the error-strewn project. Our willing to revisit the work we inherited often gives us a greater appreciation for the depth of thought but also the embedded faults.
We are better for the proof-readers, editors, curious minds, and insightful questions. A culture of curiosity builds on that which went before and hopefully identified the moment we made a wrong-turn or fateful decision.
Sometimes we must step back before going forward. Sometimes we should descend before ascending. Sometimes our immediate direction of travel is not our final heading.
Real-time assessment of our performance needs context. There are moments when we are traveling below parameters, but for a good reason. If we manage by the numbers, we miss the opportunity to understand our surroundings and seize the opportunity. Wayfinding is our greatest asset, why not embrace it?