An Exercise: Finding inspiration instead of it finding you

August 23rd, 2010

Seth Godin recently posted on his blog a great exercise for people looking to find inspiration:

“…start a blog and post once a day on how your favorite company can improve its products or its service. Do it every day for a month, one new, actionable idea each and every day. Within a few weeks, you’ll notice the change in the way you find, process and ship ideas.

I’m not currently looking for inspiration, but I think this is a great exercise for a UX designer. It offers designers a chance to look into the details of an experience and think about how it could be improved.

In two weeks I head back to work after a six month maternity leave. I’m excited to head back to work, but it’s been a few months since I’ve been in the weeds thinking about some of these things. So, for the new few weeks, I am going to give this exercise a try as a way of getting back into UX shape. Stay tuned!

Overcoming Creative Block

March 5th, 2010

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I’ve been a fan of Scott Hansen/ISO50′s work for some time now, but I have to admit I hadn’t been reading the ISO50 blog until Swiss-Miss linked to this fantastic post where Alex from ISO50 asked some of today’s most exciting artists and creators what they do when the ideas aren’t flowing. He left the question fairly open ended and asked, “What do you do to inspire your creativity when you find yourself in a rut?”

As expected, an array of answers were provided. Nicholas Feltron likes to travel. Michael Place from Build provided a recipe and recommended two glasses of wine. Jil Lee cleans. Erik Spiekermann suggested: avoid, think, research, collect, sketch and deconstruct. Chad Hagen, honestly admitted what has kept him inspired is his desire to be good, like really good. As someone who is driven by competition, this answer really resonates with me.

However, my favorite answer came from Mike Perry who said lately when he’s in a rut, he’s been taking the Amtrak somewhere. This reminded me of an ITP assignment that Red Burns gave the incoming ITP class after mine, that I always wanted to try: take the bus from the top Broadway in NYC all the way down to the bottom and write about your experience. People watching has got to be one of the greatest creative block breakers of all time for me.

Ideo Method Cards Go Digital

February 26th, 2010

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Ideo’s now classic Method Cards that were originally released in 2003 as a printed deck of 51 cards to help inspire and spark creative ideas for designers have recently been released as an iphone application. I am so happy about this; we have a set of the cards, but they sit around on our bookshelf and are rarely around when I usually need a creative boost. Having them available on my phone means I can get a quick creative hit whenever I need now.

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You can download the app for free and get 8 cards and once you do, you can purchase the dull deck for $4.99.