Decision making needs to be more creative if we want to discover better options and make better choices. It’s not always as simple, or narrow, as deciding “this way or that way” or “this one or that one”. Broaden the scope, consider other possibilities and alternatives before then narrowing down to just one or two options. Less ‘OR’ more ‘AND’…
I reviewed some interim student design presentations recently and was asked the question “Which design do you prefer so far, A or B”? To which my response was “Neither. You’re not ready to ask which one yet, the choice is too narrow too soon (A & B were also variations of one idea)… you need to put more thought into exploring alternatives”. Whether a student or an organization, decision making is often seen as narrowing down options before the alternatives have been fully explored and this just limits opportunities to find the best way forward.
In the context of the students and the design process adopted by organizations, creating an inspirational design strategy upfront is highly valuable for the exploration of diverse ideas. Designers that don’t have a good design strategy to work with often struggle to explore wide. Organizations that don’t see the value of, or want to pay for, a design strategy get what they pay for and have to accept narrow design options.
Next time you’re in a situation where you’re thinking ‘either, or’ stop narrowing yourself and consider what else you could explore, is there a better way beyond the obvious and what’s in front of you?