3 design skills to help you in daily situations (even if you don't consider yourself a creative person)

Bruno Rigolino on

Some disciplines, like Physics, Philosophy… and Design, help people see the world through insightful lenses.

Learning some design skills can help you see the world from different perspectives and also create new ones. Here are three design skills you can learn and use in daily situations:

#1 Ideation: After understanding the problem and people’s needs in a design project, our next step is to brainstorm possible scenarios. Practicing this skill can help you in:

  • Negotiations. They become easier if you can generate scenarios to accommodate each party’s needs. New and creative scenarios help closing deals.
  • Decision making. Exploring scenarios avoiding pre-judgment can help you visualize possibilities before deciding. In a design process, we first generate scenarios, then pick the ones with the best outcomes to explore further.

#2 Prototyping: designers like to test things earlier. Sometimes to test an idea, a sketch is not enough; we need to interact with something.

Organizing furniture, creating new habits, and preparing presentations are three of many situations you can use prototypes to evaluate decisions before committing to them.

For example:

  • You can use paper boxes to simulate furniture positions and test room circulation without lifting heavy stuff.
  • You can test a new habit to find friction points and smooth the practice before committing.
  • You can simulate different presentation strategies using placeholder data before spending time organizing and refining each slide.

This skill's critical aspect is to make an (imperfect) artifact that helps you test and interact with your idea before committing to it.

#3 Smart questions: designers ask questions that make people talk about experiences and subject aspects of a problem. We ask questions to hear stories.

That skill is helpful when you meet new people and need to make a conversation flow. Before asking, think about what kind of answer you need: short and objective as Yes or No, or long and personal as a short story.