Designing FROM Joy

What IS Joy? A feeling? Can you describe it logically? And what is better… Designing FROM Joy or Designing FOR Joy?

The thought of spending time with Laurence McCahill on our Marketing Masterclass definitely gave us a visceral feeling of joy. And in reality, it delivered it.

Laurence gets excited about the feeling of “adventure”. And he describes how he can feel it hiking up a mountain in The Alps as well as when creating a free marketing thing. If it involves creating something exciting that helps someone else, then that is joyous for him.

But what does it mean to “design from joy”? As a designer by trade before launching The Happy Startup School, Laurence talked to us about putting the customer’s needs first — making their experience joyful. But what about the joy that you feel as the designer? What might ‘joy-burnout’ look like?

Is there a clear reason to me that I am doing this work? Do I really believe in this?

The subtle switch in mindset from designing for to designing from is a massive shift. And it can inform significant life choices based on one’s wants, needs and limits.

Laurence wrote a post the day before we chatted in which he outlined how any project he works on has to satisfy his own need for…

🌈 CREATIVITY — Does it fulfil my need for creative expression, or spark a curiosity to learn?

😌 CONNECTION — Who am I designing for? Do I really care about the problem I’m solving or the people I’m solving it for? Can this be a fast track to connection?

👨🏽‍🤝‍👨🏾 COLLABORATION — Who am I doing this with? Does playing with them feel fun/exciting/interesting/effortless? If I’m flying solo how who will help me stay accountable?

🌏 CONTRIBUTION — Will this make a positive impact or is it just a bit of fun?

🪙 COMPENSATION — Am I/are we clear on whether this is something where money exchanges hands? And if not, what value are we creating? How do we get people to engage/commit without money (whether customers or collaborators)?

And a final C for good measure — COMMITMENT. Am I/are we fully committed to this or is it just a shiny distraction?

He explained each of these points in our Masterclass. You can watch the whole conversation here, and also see the amount of joyful chat that accompanied it — lots of people were moved to bring their own interpretations of joy and it ended up opening up an enquiry about whether joy is indeed what we should be aiming for.

Can you have joy all the time?

… and if it is what we are aiming for, can we hope to have it all of the time?

In theory, as long as you are doing everything from a point of joy, then this can motivate your orientation. Perhaps it doesn’t mean a continued ‘joy flurry’, but those “golden ten minutes” that are the little “twinkles of joy” — as Simon Batchelar called it, make it all worth it.

Laurence talks about a good product being the best marketing… I would suggest that — also — marketing can be the best product: By putting ourselves out there and gifting our thoughts to our reader, we are creating a great story and building up our own understanding of ourselves, designing and enabling conversations that we love, and end up with a thing that is a package of us, and also a gift to others. We can gift through our marketing something really valuable — both to our audience and, in terms of increased self-awareness by way of doing good marketing, to ourselves. And at the same time, we can point people to what it would feel like to work with us. And if we are clever about niching — identifying and finding the people that we want to work with — then in theory that feeling should be something close to joy.

We also talked about why it’s best to ship a thing before it’s readyhow this can help you get clear on what it should eventually look like, talk better about how it will help others and also get clear in the process on your own wants, needs and limits. This subject is another one of Laurence’s many “Zones of Genius, as he and Carlos Saba of the The Happy Startup School call it, and therefore another reason why this Masterclass is well worth a watch.

Simon and I are continually inspired by the work of Laurence McCahill and Carlos Saba (whose conversation with us around Happiness as a Niche was just as joyous) and, thanks to them, Better Bolder Braver is 100% designed from joy.



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