Brian Sullivan, president of DFW UPA and usability principal at Sabre Holdings’ Human Factors Center, treated this month’s meeting participants to Leonardo da Vinci’s basic principles on how to think. These principles are divided into the following categories:
- Curiosity – The focus should be on questions, not answers. Some of the many practices you can adopt are to keep an idea journal, write 100 questions in one sitting about a problem or situation, ask the five Ws and H (who, what, when, where, why, and how) and then “else yourself” on all of them, build your vocabulary, and use the ladder of abstraction.
- Demonstration – This is facts versus opinion. As a designer, you need facts as a basis, not emotion.
- Sensations – Develop your senses more fully.
- Sfumato or embrace ambiguity – Let your ideas incubate, subject them to thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.
- Art and science – Use whole brain thinking, not just the creative side or the scientific side.
- Corporality – Keep your whole body in shape to enhance your ability to think, for example: proper diet, exercise, sleep, increasing your manual dexterity, and even juggling.
- Connections – We are all part of a larger system, so don’t limit your thinking or design to one aspect or one user profile.
In order to reinforce the materials covered, Brian asked individual attendees to do such things as draw “coffee” three different ways (curiosity), block a punch (sfumato), and elaborate on the scent of Old Spice (sensations). After working out our brains, Brian supplemented the training with a taste test to further develop our senses. In case you are interested in the subject matter of this short workshop, you can find more information in the book How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day, by Michael Gelb and the MapMind website.
The presentation was so good that I forgot to take pictures. Next time!
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