USA Today’s website captured a very intriguing photograph of a young boy in midair. The question is, what’s your perspective on the image?
At first glance, the young boy’s actions are difficult to detect. Is he falling? Is he jumping on a trampoline? Is he practicing his tightrope skills? How did he get there and more importantly, where is he landing? [direct link here]
In actuality, the young boy from Mumbai, India is jumping into the ocean for a cool down on a hot day. But, since we can’t see the ocean below, all we’re able to do is speculate.
Perspective is extraordinary. Though one individual may see a picture, an object, a person or even a process one way, the existence of a completely different view by another is guaranteed. In business, sharing perspectives is a great tool for innovation and efficiency. It not only empowers stakeholders, but leads to less worker productivity suffering from micromanagement.
We’ve talked about finding the proper perspective before on this blog, and the points made then hold just as true now. If you’re not able to see the whole picture due to looking at an issue from only one point of view, you’re not likely to find the best solution.
An article in Smashing Magazine brings up some tips for the best ways to change your perspective. While that site is mostly geared toward visual designers, it has themes that people in any industry can benefit from thinking about. We’ve included a bit of that article below.
ASK DIFFERENT QUESTIONS
If you are stuck, it is probably because you need an answer. Trouble is, you might not be asking the right question. If you ask the same question over and over, you will most likely get the same answer. So, how do you rephrase the question or ask a new question to gain new insight?
Sometimes the problem is visual. Something in the layout is distracting or causing it not to work, so you need to address a different part of the layout. The root of the problem might be not the element you are working on but the surrounding elements. Here are a few things to try:
Delete or remove other items on the art board and see what happens. This could reveal a solution to the problem.
- Try an illustration instead of a photo.
- Change colors.
- Break the grid.
- Emphasize different parts of the page.
- Try a whole new approach to the navigation, not just a new menu bar.
ZOOM OUT TO THE NEXT LARGEST CONTEXT
Looking at the big picture can also lead to a new way of seeing the problem. When a problem is very specific, look at how it fits into the next largest context. In product or Web design, this could mean storyboarding how the app or website is to be used, including the location and psychographics of the user and what they are trying to accomplish. Better understanding how the business works might also help. Understanding design in the context of how the app fits into the big picture of the business can help you refine the strategy and eliminate options to arrive at a solution more quickly.
Zooming out sometimes helps me realize that I am asking the wrong question. If you are asking how your problem (say, one about a feature set or product requirements) fits into the big picture, you might find that the big picture is not big enough and has to be expanded (such as by revising the strategy or the user flow). Perhaps the feature set or product requirements don’t make sense because you haven’t zoomed out wide enough and don’t understand the product in context. Once you look at it in the big picture, your entire team might realize that its approach is wrong — or perhaps right!
We encourage our clients to embrace alternate points of view, especially when calling upon us to assist in overcoming problems, streamlining processes or even seeking stakeholder satisfaction. Contact our business process improvement methodology consultants today if you are interested in gaining a new viewpoint on the benefits to open perspective.