Our 2014 Summit was a great success! For those of you that were able to make the presentation, I think you’ll agree that Robyn Waters inspired us all to start reframing our thinking and come up with our next big idea. I’m excited to get started!


As a refresher for us all, I thought I’d summarize Robyn’s Top Ten tip list for thinking like a designer. After each item, I’ve summarized her key points. Perhaps reviewing this will inspire you to commit to following through on Robyn’s challenge to us to pick something from the list and commit to doing it in the next week or month. Personally, I’ve committed to reading “On Looking – Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes“ by Alexandra Horowitz. I also want to use my learning from that as I vacation with my family in Yellowstone, later this summer. What are you committing to do to think like a designer? I’d love it if you’d share your stories in the comments.

So without further ado, here’s a summary of the presentation, with a few bullet points to help recall Robyn’s masterful points!

  1. Open Your Eyes – Do you make laundry lists or see the big picture? “We now live in a virtual world and we escape to the real world. Are our powers of observation still keen?” (Read Alexandra Horowitz’ book.)
  2. Walk in Other Worlds – Accidents can be good – you often stumble on things you never would have discovered, like when Robyn backed into the leg of an elephant when lost in Phnom Penh. “Knowledge can be a prison of the past, while curiosity can create a passion for the present and build a path to the future.” —Gary Friedman
  3. Learn to Reframe – The Kindle changed everything, except the story itself, regarding our ideas about books: how, when and where we buy them, how authors are paid, etc. What is your next big idea?
  4. Change Your Perspective – What is your idea of a vending machine? Could a vending machine be something that comes to you, on the back of a donkey?
  5. Take a Designer to Lunch – Ida Frosk designs her breakfast every morning, takes a picture of it and posts it on Instagram. She has over 230,000 followers. Robyn would love to have breakfast with her! Who do you want to take to breakfast, lunch, for a drink or dinner? (idafrosk.com or idafrosk on Instagram.)
  6. Become a Master Storyteller – Inspire people to do what you want them to do by using stories, creating heroes and showing demos.
  7. Think Experience, Not Process – How does this marketing message resonate: “What is she thinking when she walks in? What is she feeling when she walks out?”
  8. Draw a Picture – Look at the power of Pinterest and Instagram in today’s virtual world. See what Sir Ken Robinson has to say about how schools are killing our creativity.
  9. Have a Heart– Engage all of the senses to put the heart into your product. Recall what Target did with a plywood box, a slide projector, and a sound machine.

Don’t Rely Exclusively on the Numbers – A number is a measurement of something that already occurred. Use the numbers, but also rely on your instincts. “Statistics are like bikinis. What the reveal is important, but what they hide is vital.” —W.C. Fields

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *