13
Aug

Everyone Solves Design Problems

photo courtesy of Splitshire.com

photo courtesy of Splitshire.com

We’ve covered the importance of a brain trust and the ideal creative-centric leaders and their empowered teams. Now it’s time to get to the problems: how designers and design thinkers apply their skills.

A talented art director or designer can deliver amazing boards for a pitch, but what’s the thinking behind them? Do they solve a brand need? What are brands? Do they anticipate the future? Is it stunning but blind to its own purpose?

In the design industry, no matter the client, confusing beauty or “beautification” with great design happens. Getting lost in the art doesn’t always solve a business problem. Asking teams to align best practices of design and art into specific client ‘business’ problems makes everyone less focused on the “wow” and more focused on, “A-ha, I didn’t think of that!”

All industries face their unique challenges. Educator George Kneller says “creativity . . . consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know.” This should be a guiding maxim for re-thinking problems. For us, problem-solving has to do with how viewers see, understand and interact with television. The problems are knotty and sometimes imposing –- intimidating, even.

And while television struggles with conspicuous cultural identity issues, audiences still value what the medium offers. So teams should stretch their minds and try to solve tactical day-to-day puzzles. Whether it’s through scheduled meetings or informal work sessions, it’s a good idea to congregate and talk about the state of the industry, from competitors to aspirations.

These sessions don’t need to be “guided,” but it helps to have a sense of the problem’s history and background. We pull out the “classic” on-air looks, the big wins and the failures. We talk about symbols and meanings, such as what a logo or a lower third is trying to project; but what problems are they trying to solve? Is it advertising or something else?

These are the juicy “knotty” problems that make us dig deep and grope our brains for answers. Creativity scholars’ value this sort of juicy problem-solving because the unconscious mind (where ideas are always churning) has a chain to connect with ideas, thoughts and visuals that they don’t always think to recall.

We believe creative workspaces and designers and design-thinkers are the best combinations of people and places, allowing us to effortlessly wander through problems in a process Grant McCracken calls “provocation.”

Creative companies are the best places to “pitch the tent” outside conventional business strategic thinking; and designers are very often artists who use their skills and talents to provoke not only their own work, but life on-air.

That’s how we #daretoinspire

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