Get out of the office! Right now! Go!
When was the last time you left your office during the day? When was the last time you went out into the world to clear your mind, get inspired, or visit a customer at their work? When was the last time you walked out of a meeting, during the meeting, to go out into the world to find out what you needed to know?
If your answer to these is more than a week, you might be a prisoner of your office. If so, that is likely limiting your ability to creatively problem solve or innovate.
In 2017, most of us go in to the office early in the morning, stay in the office all day long, and leave the office in the evening to go back home. This structure made a ton of sense 130 years ago, when many of us worked in factories during the height of the Industrial Age. But, in this era of consumer-driven technology, many of us work in an office. For example, in the technology sector, the office environment typically consists of desks and conference rooms. We can encounter our teammates and other employees, but rarely customers and people who are not our customers. We tend to see the world through the lens of our products and our organizational structures, and most of our time is spent in that physical space, trying to figure out how to create something that will leave our office and go out into the world (like a product, or a service).
But we don't go out there ourselves.
If we aren't spending time in the world, seeing what's out there, watching people, seeing artifacts and spaces that people will encounter who might be trying to solve the problem that our product or service solves, we could be designing the wrong solution, or in the wrong way. Or, we might simply be missing opportunities to make things even better.
The best way to break away from the prison of your office is to physically leave it.
If you aren't sure what to do while out in the world, consider one of these options:
Go on an Empathy Safari
Go visit a customer on a Site Visit
Go to a public space environment and people-watch
Go for a walk in an unfamiliar neighborhood
Get a person-on-the-street reaction to a concept that you're working on
Better yet, do it with your colleagues. Get out of your office. Find inspiration and bring it back to the work that you are doing every day. Go. Now.
For tools that might help you, check out my "Tools" page.
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