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Losing insights during the creative process
Weekly Insights 1
What does it take to create high-quality designs? For starters, the process of creation is very resource intensive. It brings discomfort to reach a certain level of depth which may take weeks (and sometimes years) of hard work. What's even harder is to have the courage to do it all over again because each time, it will take you on an unexpected path.
Product teams often face the pressure to continuously innovate, which rushes the creative process and downplays the creative experience. And they are not the only ones. The same goes for leaders, sales, and innovation teams.
Under pressure to deliver fast, there is never enough time to align and allow solutions to emerge. Therefore, the temptation is to follow a safer option, find a standardized process, and "get the job done." Teams often find it "practical and efficient." In some instances, it might be the right approach. However, going this route leaves unquestioned many blind spots and biases in the thinking. The chances are that if you're using only focused processes, you'll probably work within a narrow scope that limits your creative power and compromises design quality.
This approach may bring some short-term benefits, but in the long run, it is not sustainable as it will hurt innovation and the ability to use strong creative muscles. How can you prevent that? By broadening and understanding the effects of creative processes on teams involved in product innovation. You should be aware of four steps in the creative journey: discover, collaborate, create, and share. They are not separate stages but are paired as a mix of learning and team play.
Discover and Collaborate
Creative processes involve a great deal of iteration, but their value lies in the quality of insights generated toward achieving goals. But how do you draw insights to the surface and cater to them until they are ready to unlock new possibilities?
Every iteration cycle is transformative, as "you can never swim twice in the same river," and every time, there's an opportunity to learn and discover. Yet, good insights reveal their true value when the team commits to their pursuit into action. When findings are not processed in collaboration, the risk of losing insights is very high.
Teams often participate in workshops where they form the most amazing ideas, but then they go back to their routine without any means to bring and use such ideas later on. Soon they're all lost and forgotten.
Ideas come and go, so chasing or validating them is counter-productive and taxing because not all ideas are good ideas.
That's why it matters to collaborate as you discover. Working together helps teams tap into a richer world of perspectives. They can use that exchange to decide on the insights worth prioritizing. The team can align on the intent by making it explicit throughout the process by questioning how the insights shape the path toward the goal. The importance of collaboration cannot be overstated for creative insights. So, stepping outside your comfort zone, bouncing ideas that don't quite make sense, and asking your teammates to help you express them better it's a powerful exercise!
Create and Share
Creation is not a single moment in time but a continuous process. Besides an unpredictable number of iterations, the creative process is an interplay between navigating unknowns, challenges, uncertainties, and enabling opportunities, positive impact, and purpose. When innovation is dispatched on the market, it often disrupts the norm and takes time to settle. Creating and sharing bring insights down the road toward responsible application. The tipping point of a creative process is not its final form before launching. The value of creativity resides with the impact it has when it's being shared. That is why thinking systemically about problems and solutions is crucial.
Doing things better requires learning from your mistakes, but that puts a broad predicament forward. Pairing the right elements together in a creative process takes a great deal of experimenting, and it's never a final formula for every issue and type of team. Hence, the focus is on the insights:
Note them when they appear;
Discuss which are worth pursuing and which are worth dropping;
Test them in context;
Let them grow in action;
A highly engaged team is likely to generate many insights, but pursuing all is not realistic or useful. Also, holding on to them can become a burden for a team who is already rushing to meet deadlines. The value of insights is lost if they become yet another distraction, so it's better to deliberately lose some of the insights during the creative process to make space for more to come.
The future needs creative insights to help it take the shape we envision. The possibility to work toward this is an invitation for collaboration that we contribute to in different degrees.
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