The immensity of the sea
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea“ – Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
The reality is that none of us ever sail an ocean anywhere other than our minds. The horrors and tribulations of the past are what define our futures, and our Ocean, is our passion for originality and the hope of imagination. The escapism to be absorbed from entertaining an idea in your mind and then translating it into reality, remains romantic and like romance, laden with risk. We are all different and so are our idea’s.
The old cliche “If you want to sail the ocean, you have to let go of the shore”. The sort of turmoil that awaits is enough to abuse a minds eye long before any waves actually crash into the side of the boat, but would we get older quicker if we stay ashore?
To sail the ocean means the chance (however small) of discovering new lands, growing the depth of our experiences, widening our fields of awareness and bringing with it, inner peace and understanding. In doing so we may get older physically, but surely, retain our youth at heart?
In sailing the ocean we drift through long days of boundarylessness, where our capacity to envisage the very reason we set off, and feel its excitement, dwindles in the sun.
Product innovation is not deep and broad with H2O; but with time and possibility. When there is no land to be seen, nothing to push against or give us baring, the true purpose and spirit of the person is tested. When left with nothing but to drift, a Designer has to find it within themselves to impose a structure on the vastness of their challenge.
All product designers have their university educated template for designing a product, but this template is very much dependant on the audacity of the problem being solved or process being made easier. To let creativity drift uncontrollably is as good as forging procrastination itself.
Like life, creativity needs a balance between dreamy divergence and objective reality. This balance is more likely to be found when the number of contributors is greater, as the reality of the various proposals churned out during the process can be ticked off incrementally by the past experience of each designer. Of course, what is real, can only be quantified and qualified by real testing, real evaluation and more real testing.
When you finally get there, when you earn the right to solve that problem and the outcome appears is if it were magic to the untrained eye, that is the moment you thank the days you were allowed to drift.