The Hard Work of Seeing Things Differently

The hardest work in good design is emotional. We sit down to solve a problem together and quickly realize that each member of our team sees it differently.

But what initially looks like a potential source of conflict doesn’t have to be a conflict at all.

A good designer knows that this is not about my ideas or worldview versus yours. Although there are surely a small minority of exceptions, we can generally start with the assumption that neither of our points of view are crazy. And that each of us sees something about our shared project that’s worth seeing.

A good team leader then painstakingly extracts those differences and reframes them as assets for creative problem solving.

I can understand how this tension between points of view can feel like conflict. But when it crops up next, remember: it’s not. Instead, it’s an opportunity for us to grow, change and evolve—as a team.

And this is where innovation starts.

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