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Are You as Creative as a 15yr Old?

This week and next I’m once again traveling with Atlas Workshops, teaching students to learn the design process to solve location-based problems. Sorry – did I say I’m teaching the students? I should say they’re teaching me. Because, of course, they are.

Today we did a 45min design exercise to practice basic user interviews and ideation based on research (based on IDEO’s exercise). Each student interviewed another, then designed a wallet for their partner based on the values they had gathered. Each wallet was a masterpiece, complete with everything from magnets to hold change, to zippers to separate the two halves of the wallet (for days you only need cash), to waterproof leather, for both style and practicality.

Adam and I prefaced the exercise by explaining to the students that this is also an activity we use in design agencies. So after presenting, the students asked how their wallets compared to business executives we’ve worked with. While I considered the question, Adam had an immediate answer: while adults tend to be more excited about the opportunity to create, but they also don’t tend to be as creative.

It’s a good thing to remember. We could all do with a bit more creative juice. Maybe we need to start thinking like high school students.

Looking for more articles on Atlas Workshops? Check out my trip from 2014.

Marli Mesibov

Marli is a content strategist with a passion for the user experience. Her work spans websites, web applications, and mobile. Marli is the director of content strategy at the UX agency Mad*Pow, and she serves as managing editor at UX Booth, a publication about all areas of user experience. Marli is a frequent conference speaker, and has spoken at conferences including Content Strategy Forum and LavaCon. She can also be found on Twitter, where she shares thoughts on content strategy, literature, and Muppets.

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