A Researcher at the University of Michigan conducted a study to determine if 4th graders who were allowed to discuss a complex problem with other children were more likely to come up with more and/or better solutions than those children working alone, or not discussing the problem. The research showed that students who were allowed to work with a partner, and speak to that partner, extrapolated stronger hypotheses than those working alone, or who were not allowed to talk.
I don’t know about you, but some of us (me) like to stew on problems in isolation. However, it can be beneficial from time to time to leave the confines of your studio or design table or computer, and share your ideas with others, inviting feedback about what you’ve been up to. Discussing work-in-progress with like-minded creators can help you to hone your craft, discover possibilities, and/or receive useful critique.
It might also be beneficial to ask someone who has no idea what you’re talking about. “Ask A Fool,” is one of my favorite prompts from the Creative Whack Pack by Roger vonOech. “Ask a Fool,” suggests that conversing with someone who is unfamiliar with your discipline will help you to see a problem with fresh eyes. We become so familiar with our own output that it can be stimulating to look at the work from a newbie’s perspective.
Who can you talk to about the project you are working on right now? What expertise can they add to yours to help move your work along? Who might add a different perspective on what you are trying to do? How can a novice help you to explore what you do and why you do it?