Anti-Experts

Dennis Presiloski  

January 28, 2011

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When you were a kid, chances are good you went through a period when your favorite word was "why?"   It's this questioning period of life when most of us are at our creative peak.  This is the era when a cardboard box is a better toy than whatever was in it, the boogie-man is in the closet, and we color outside the lines with wild abandon.

You probably drove certain adults crazy asking them "why", and at some point you were told to cut it out – or else.  This may have been necessary for your survival, but a little piece of your creativity died that day. R.I.P.

Some people just couldn't let it go, and if they had an artistic inclination, there's a good chance they became a designer of some kind. The ability to question the obvious is one of the key traits of being an effective designer.

Q. How many designers does it take to change a light bulb?

A. Why do you want a light bulb?

It takes guts to ask the questions no one else wants to ask.  Most people don't want to appear silly, or un-informed, or perhaps even insane.  Experts get paid to ask serious questions and provide serious answers.

But it's a designer's duty as an "anti-expert" to probe as a child would, with curiosity and playfulness.  This is how big ideas are born.  So the next time that "creative person" disturbs your meeting with an inane comment or un-informed query, pay attention, play along, and embrace your inner "anti-expert."

Something big just might happen.