"When I'm designing, I believe in ghosts."

Posted on Sep 26, 2012 in Everyday Life, Research Methodologies

A former research assistant of mine just pointed me to FJP: a weird and wonderful blog about interaction design that gets updated each week and has no archives or social media extensions, which makes it pretty ace in my books above and beyond its content.

And apologies to the author, but this post is just too good to let slip away. It’s what I always try to explain to my students, but better put:

Opening Your Mind So Wide the Ghosts Slip In

When I’m designing, I believe in ghosts. Let me explain.

I’m an analytical person. I believe in science and logic. I don’t actually believe in ghosts in any serious way.

But part of great design is taking lateral leaps of logic, of challenging assumptions, letting the world change your mind, staying receptive to new experiences and ways of thinking, channeling the energy and ideas around you, knowing anything is possible, letting your intuition drive your thinking, not saying no, not shutting things down, re-evaluating your point of view, treating everyone as if they have something to teach you, staying mentally agile, sharp, light, nimble, and quick.

And when I’m in that mode, when I’m truly in touch with my creativity, when my mind is necessarily wide open, the ghosts slip in. Of course ghosts might exist, just like of course this design problem has a solution just out of my reach, one I can discover as long as I keep working at it.

In that moment of creative inspiration, everything has to be possible. When I’m designing, I believe in ghosts. I have to.