Turn off the computer (!) and sketch early in the product design process

Sketching with pencil and paper in the early stages of product design connects us to a familiar, tactile process that unlocks our creativity and gives us a better understanding of the problem we're trying to solve.

Drawing is simple, simple, simple. And while computers allow us to go further, they color and constrain our thinking in ways that are detrimental to the early phases of product design.

Most of us have been using pencil and paper in some form since we were old enough to speak - the sensation of touching paper, of feeling the weight of a pencil, the smell of the eraser - let's not discount these familiar, reassuring signals to our brain simply because we can't quantify them. We're deeply trained and infinitely comfortable in this mode. This kind of safety and comfort is like gasoline for the creative fire. If you don't believe that safety and comfort make for better performance, notice the difference next time you tell a story to your closest friend, and how it feels to tell that same story in a group. Unless you are a great public speaker or well-versed, your performance suffers. Safety reinforces creativity.Read more