Good design is messy

I’ve written about this before, but two great articles recently said it even better:

Don’t try to control or make safe the fumbling, panicky, glorious adventure of discovery. Occasionally, one sees articles that describe how to rationalize this process, how to take the fuzzy front end and give it a nice haircut. This is self-defeating. We should allow the fuzzy front end to be as unkempt and as fuzzy as we can. Long– term growth depends on innovation, and innovation isn’t neat. – Bill Coyne of 3M, via Bob Sutton

If the process of bringing new things to life were a living, breathing organism, it would be a nasty beast! It would be unpredictable. It would consume as much as you dared to feed it. Some days, it would really stink. Yucko! And it would have a tendency to chew up people and spit them out. Most of all, though, it would hairy. Really hairy — think dense forests of tangly, greasy, matted, hair, the likes of which make people run for shampoo, scissors, clippers, straight razors, and a blow dryer…

But in that fuzziness is an unpredictable wellspring of creativity, which — if left to do what it will in in its own nonlinear way — is the source of the new and the wonderful. Consequently, one must never give in to the temptation to shave the fuzzy hairball that is innovation…

Understanding how to deal with ambiguity at a personal level is the key to unlocking one’s creative confidence. An organization which understands how to resist shaving the hairball, populated by people who know how to orbit the hairball, will be capable of bringing amazing things to life. – Diego Rodriguez