All too often businesses are seduced into thinking that everybody is in alignment, by describing complex concepts in language-heavy PowerPoint presentations, only to realise that everybody is holding a slightly different image of the situation in their heads. This is because, despite its amazing power, language is incredibly nuanced and open to interpretation (and manipulation). Some of our biggest wins as a company have involved creating graphic concept maps in the form of posters that can be hung around the office to ensure everybody understands the problem and is aligned on the solution. We call this activity design propaganda, and it’s a vital part of the design process.
Thinking inside the box doesn’t mean you have to stay inside it. Cats don’t allow themselves to be limited by the laws of physics when it comes to fitting in boxes. They assume their liquid form and gracefully allow their pillowy sides spill out over the edges. The key to their success is flexibility and prioritization. When given an ambiguous or complex problem such as a seemingly too-small box, a cat will prioritize which parts should go inside the box so that the cat and box can reach a steady state of equilibrium. Cat and box become one. The obvious lesson here is that once you understand the constraints of a problem, you know which ones to push on to achieve your goals.