Stepping Out of the Design Bubble

People have a natural tendency to gravitate to those with like minded ideas and perspectives, but when a person has closed off from anybody with a different background and ideologies than oneself entirely, it creates skewed perspectives that can limit growth. After reading Michael Simmons’ article called “The No. 1 Predictor of Career Success According To Network Science”, all I can say is that I agree fully with his ideas on open networks. He explains that people either have a closed or open network and those that allow for an open network are more able to become successful. This theory applies to life in general because part of forming world views and fully formed opinions is hearing different opinions; Thus, limiting the group that one associates with to represent only one viewpoint creates warped perspectives of the world as a whole. I have long been of the belief that having groups of friends or acquaintances who are completely different and view the world differently is important in life. In this article, Simmons explains that this can also be tied into success in business. He suggests that interacting with people in completely unrelated fields can allow someone to link ideas together and bring it back to the field that they are in. He shows that Steve Jobs’ success can be partially attributed to his open network.

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.”

When it comes to designers associating with people of different backgrounds outside of design can allow for ingenuity. By pulling ideas from many different fields can come new creations that are unlike any before. Simmons shows that Steve Jobs was successful for this reason, giving examples such as him dropping out of college and sitting in on calligraphy courses actually leading him to have a respect for design that others in the field did not have; which is reflected in the Apple brand. As designers we are solving problems for people in the real world and to understand the problem better it makes sense to understand a wide range of perspectives of potential users. Getting outside of the design world can provide viewpoints that will go beyond designers coming from similar stances.

The design world can feel like a bubble at times, we see things from our own view point which we share, that places importance on certain things that others do not think about while ignoring other areas. This can be seen especially within art schools which can be really beneficial to be surrounded by creative minds but also can be at a disservice to creating a skewed reality. As Simmons discusses people often form these closed networks because they are comfortable and they already know all the unspoken rules. This may be true but by going outside of this bubble we open up to ideas and perspectives that can produce a more well rounded solution. Ultimately, what Simmons suggests is that living your life open to different fields and exploring many interests can provide useful ideas that when put together can create original ideas. Success comes from exploring outside of one area of interest, to become innovators one must open their network.

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