5 Ways to Begin Designing Your Life in 2013

December 20, 2012 — 6 Comments

dlife2 580px

Great designers don’t just do design, they live design. Like them, we can learn how to practice design thinking principles both at work and at home.

As you start designing your life in 2013, here are five ways to begin:

1. Be optimistic, collaborative, and generative.
There’s something wonderfully gratifying about creating something new, whether it’s an award-winning design or a home-cooked meal.

2. Think of life as a prototype.
Conduct experiments, make discoveries, change as needed. Any process can be re-examined and tweaked. Look for opportunities to turn a process into a project with a tangible outcome.

3. Don’t ask “what?” ask “why?”
Instead of accepting a given constraint, ask whether this is the right problem to be solving.

4. Demand divergent options.
Don’t settle for the first good idea that comes to mind or seize on the first promising solution presented to you. Explore divergent options—and then set a deadline so you know when to move on.

5. Once a day, deeply observe the ordinary.
Make it a rule that at least once a day you will stop and take a second look at some ordinary situation that you would normally look at only once (or not at all). Get out in the world and be inspired by people.

Happy designing!

(posted also on my LinkedIn Thought Leader blog)

Artwork by Martin Kay / IDEO.

Tim Brown


6 responses to 5 Ways to Begin Designing Your Life in 2013

  1. Hi Tim,
    yourself have once said that the ‘design process is best described as a
    system of spaces rather than a series of orderly steps.’ When design
    thinking is applied to life, how do you advise we see life as a ‘system of spaces’?

  2. Just 5 simple ways to make a lot of improvements IN my life…. I think that 2013 can be better. Wagner

  3. Thanks Tim, I love these (life) design ideas, and they are all very aligned with my work. In fact, here is my observation of the (beauty in the) ordinary from yesterday: http://instagram.com/p/UO67abGvNK/

  4. “Think of Life as a prototype”…..such a powerful message!

  5. Hi Tim,
    After coming up with a few good redesigns of items that already exist, where do we go from here? A patent is too costly, as we have already paid for one. I have many ideas, but don’t know who to turn to. Someone like you and David Kelley would be key to my ideas’ success.
    I invented something called the Bax Scrubb shower pad, and sell them on Amazon with a 4.9-star rating, however I am limited since money is so tight. In spite of the fact that we haven’t dropped a dime on advertising, my husband and I have sold nearly $20,000.00 worth of them. I am passionate about design and have a background in graphic art. Got any ideas for me?
    Best regards,
    Richard and Rebecca Dole, West Newbury, MA

  6. very interesting points! Im ready for that and more, thanks!

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