If you cannot see this video, click on: How creativity works – The sense making sessions.

It’s not hard to come up with something new. It’s hard to come up with something new that people want.

I think that is kind of the separation point between having lots of ideas or creating lots of stuff, and just having maybe one thing that really resonates with people that they have that Ah-Ha moment when they see it.

~ James Carnes, Global Creative Director, Senior Vice President of Design at Adidas.

What a great discussion! I particularly like how it was not the usual boring discussion on creativity, for example techniques on coming up with great ideas, but a more controlled application of creativity that is validated with customer insights.

Do enjoy this video with a cup of coffee and look out for a bunch of other really great quotes by James such as:

There is an expectation of the event itself (i.e. brainstorming workshops) will inspire greatness…actually it is the hard work (i.e. user research) before, the uncovering of things that have not been uncovered. Again it might be the obvious things, things that we have been ignoring, or really deep insights…

The big breakthrough moments aren’t things that just happen, they are actually things that have been building up.

If you listen to consumers and what they say, and you are a slave to what they tell you…you will never get beyond what they are not saying…

Indeed, as James says, the act of creativity is piecing together these unrelated moments into something amazing. This is why I do what I do. When this moment happens I can feel my adrenaline running through my veins. How about you?

Hat tip: Alberto Bissacco

I have always enjoyed discussing Design Methods and frequently use Damien Newman’s Squiggle as a means to visually describe the Design or Design Thinking process.

But how do you describe the feeling when you are knee deep in the process? How do you sort yourself out when you are struggling with a concept? This quote I stumbled upon does the job perfectly:

Confusion, chaos, and sudden despair, are to be expected in designing. They are signs that your intuitions are becoming active and well informed – but are being frustrated by your persistence in sticking to the thoughts with which you began.

The right step is to stop designing for a time and to re-plan the design process.

Persist in re-planning until you have described a new process that brings back your enthusiasm to continue.

It looks like what you feel as the way forward is now being held back by what you know. Logic fights with intuition.

This quote and a bunch of other gems can be found in an essay called Design Methods for Everyone by John Chris Jones. It is a great read on how to plan, approach and do design. Perfect for the beginner and refreshing for the expert.

Enjoy and don’t forget to save the essay for a future read!

I’m sure we are all familiar with customer journey maps or experience maps. It is a great tool to visually map out the different touch-points a customer experiences when he engages a service or product.

The main premise of an experience map is that it is often a reflective and reactive activity. We observe and interview customers on hindsight and then we layout our findings. From there we get to see what our customers like or dislike about our products or services.

But being designers and design thinkers we will want to see how we can manipulate these touch-points so that we can create customer engagement. Don’t we?

The traditional definition of customer engagement is described by Sheldon and McDowell, stands for AIDAS:

A – Attention (Awareness): attract the attention of the customer.

I – Interest: raise customer interest by focusing on and demonstrating advantages and benefits (instead of focusing on features, as in traditional advertising).

D – Desire: convince customers that they want and desire the product or service and that it will satisfy their needs.

A – Action: lead customers towards taking action and/or purchasing.

S – Satisfaction: satisfy the customer so they become a repeat customer and give referrals to a product.

My friend Maurice McGinley takes this a step further by stringing AIDAS into a different kind of Customer Journey Map and sub-clusters the elements of engagement into three broad categories: Immediacy, Persuasion, and Relevance.


The important thing with this is that it takes the passive nature of customer journey maps and turns it into a pro-active activity we can better manage the touch-points by connecting it up with a reference point. That reference point is time.

For example if you are a designer focusing on aesthetics, you will realize that you have about a second to attract and create interest with your design. At this time you can see (above) that it is important for your customer to intuitively “get” what your solution is all about. Therefore in your drive towards creating better customer engagement you cannot just concern yourself with beauty, this manifestation of beauty has to also communicate what your solution is all about at first go.

After this step, design is actually less about aesthetics, but more about a comprehensive solution where you have less that 15 minutes to convince your customer that there is relevance of your solution (product, process and system) to their needs and objectives.

There are a lot more nuggets you can extract from this, so do head over here for more details.



I thought you might like to know that I’ve been invited by my friends at the Shih Chien University Industrial Design Department to conduct a workshop to explore the future of the Design Practice and the Practice of Design.

Participants will understand and explore the changing roles of design and designers as a result of evolving industry trends and consumer needs. Central to our workshop discussions will be the function of Design Leadership and Design Research. I also think it will also be an interesting take on the application and evolution of Design Thinking from a Designers point of view. Have designers found a comfort zone with Design Thinking? Can designers better facilitate meaningful conversations? I’m really looking forward to this discussion!

Beyond Design is a 5-day workshop that will run in 2 phases. Phase 1 is from the 14 to 15 November 2013, and Phase 2 will run on the 8 to 10th of January 2014. Unfortunately it is by invite only, but I’ll see if the findings can be published soon.

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