Assume a beginner’s mindset...
Sometimes expertise can be the enemy of open-mindedness. How do you ditch your preconceptions about a space, no matter your level of familiarity?
WHY assume a beginner’s mindset
- We all carry our experiences, understanding, and expertise with us. These aspects of ourselves are incredibly valuable assets to bring to the design challenge – but at the right time, and with intentionality. Our assumptions may be misconceptions and stereotypes, and can restrict the amount of real empathy we can build. Assume a beginner’s mindset in order to put aside these biases, so that you can approach a design challenge afresh.
HOW to assume a beginner’s mindset
- Don’t judge. Just observe and engage users without the influence of value judgments upon their actions, circumstances, decisions, or “issues.”
- Question everything. Question even (and especially) the things you think you already understand. Ask questions to learn about how the user perceives the world. Think about how a 4-year-old asks “Why?” about everything. Follow up an answer to one “why” with a second “why.”
- Be truly curious. Strive to assume a posture of wonder and curiosity, especially in circumstances that seem either familiar or uncomfortable.
- Find patterns. Look for interesting threads and themes that emerge across interactions with users.
- Listen. Really. Lose your agenda and let the scene soak into your psyche. Absorb what users say to you, and how they say it, without thinking about the next thing you’re going to say.