tool for improvising: defer judgment


When software engineer Gever Tulley left his job at Adobe to start his Tinkering School for Kids, he posted a letter on his blog, ‘some things right ‘, to the people he had worked with. In it, he left them with some “good ideas” like Play! and Instead of Having a Career Path, Always Do the Most Interesting Thing You Can Do!

The real knock-out is ” Number 2: “Defer Judgment” from a sign he saw on the wall of IDEO, a global design and innovation consultancy that has innovated novel ways of collaborative problem solving. Writes Tulley:

“I first saw this on the wall at IDEO, but it’s the best advice anyone ever committed to signage in a corporate setting. It’s too easy to take pot-shots at newborn ideas. If someone is describing something to you that you just aren’t getting, say “Keep working on that” instead of saying nothing and going back to your desk to tell your friends how dumb it was. Really good ideas are sometimes buried in crap and may need help getting cleaned up.”

Deferring judgment is a great practice for your own ideas, as well as other people’s, not to mention kids’. It stops the automatic NO! of putting the kibosh on ideas because of old voices, or unexamined notions we’ve picked up here and there; and it allows the sometimes messy process of exploring, and seeing where an idea will lead.

IDEO’s site has a wealth of other mind-shifting ideas. It’s not always clear to me how the site is organized, but I find myself stumbling on useful or interesting bits all over the place (which I suspect is intentional and reflects their mandate to shake up their own, and other people’s thinking).

Related post: Tinkering School for Kids and Adults

One Response to tool for improvising: defer judgment

  1. Liz 10.29.2009 at 11:43am #

    Is it too judgmental to note that in the U.S. “judgment” is the preferred spelling?

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