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Thinking differently (or how you can avoid your streetlight)

People want to know what a career in PR will mean in 10 years? What is UX design? How exactly does it compare to service design and product design? And what does it mean to be a copywriter in an age of social media? Yep. We sure get lots of questions from people who are looking for a career in communication.

Written by Adam Horne
January 23, 2020

All of these questions got us thinking. Yes, of course, designing a PR strategy is different from creating an interface for a new smartphone game. But lots of these disciplines share a whole bunch of things that they have in common. Because really, they're all about solving problems.

So over the next few weeks, we'll take a look at some frameworks, tools, and techniques that you can apply to any problem worth solving. From designing a great birthday party for your mum to creating a fantastic smartphone game.

Why redesign the wheel?

Solving problems is already hard work. So any tool, framework or methodology must not add extra work for the sake and safety of having a process.

But really, they are useful. The 'streetlight effect' is an excellent example of how frameworks can actually stop us being lazy, predictable, and ineffective when designing solutions.

The story goes like this. "A policeman sees a drunk man searching for something under a streetlight and asks what the drunk has lost. He says he lost his keys and they both look under the streetlight together. After a few minutes, the policeman asks if he is sure he lost them here, and the drunk replies, no, and that he lost them in the park. The policeman asks why he is searching here, and the drunk answers, "this is where the light is".

When it comes to problem-solving, it's easy to be the drunk. Without a framework to guide your creative development, everyone gravitates to their own "streetlight".

Throwing a birthday party? You might gravitate to after-work drinks with friends. Designing a PR strategy? It's easy to jump to social media platforms you love. Got a background in data analytics? Then you might think the best new ideas lie in detailed quantitative data.

These are all streetlights.

Frameworks are designed to help your thinking escape the bounds of your own bias and streetlights, to offer new and unexpected ideas.

At Berghs, we want lots of people to look at lots of problems from lots of different perspectives. And we want to give them tools to expand their thinking and communication.

So next week we're kicking off with design thinking as a strategy to design good ideas for tough problems. Tougher even than your mum's birthday party!

Check out Berghs online courses here!

Adam Horne - Creative Director @ Berghs Studio

We’d love to get your take on things - so get in touch with Berghs or @adamhorne