One of the worst ways to go about getting something done or solving a problem is to look for multiple options.
That’s particularly obvious in the design field. When you’re looking to get a design done, don’t ask “can I see a few options of how that can look?” but rather focus on creating the one design that will be right. Any good designer knows that. So much waste and confusion is created when you don’t work that way. Especially because having seen the few options most people request to combine some elements of one option with some elements from the other option and you end up with a Frankenstein type of design made of disparate pieces. The result is simply not coherent.
I think that the core of this issue comes from a culture of multiple choices. It start in school where most tests consist of multiple choice answers. People end up not exercising their brain to look for the right solution to a problem. Instead they are faced with a selection of choices and they focus on the options. This type of approach is deadly to creativity.
When thinking about this, you realize that this “multiple choice” attitude affects many areas of our lives. A lot of people are able to express their will only when they are presented with options. Would it be a chocolate chip cookie or a muffin? Which calling plan will you choose? As we are presented with options all day long, we forget that we can create our own choices and exert our will more freely.
In the business world, instead of looking for options it is much better to work towards creating the one solution that will accomplish your mission. And working in iterations towards that goal is probably the best way to go – fine tuning your work step by step and getting better and better results. You never look for options – instead you continuously foster your creativity and iterate to an awesome result.
More on the topic:
Paul Rand: Good Ideas Rarely Come In Bunches
“One of the more common problems which tends to create doubt and confusion is caused by the inexperienced and anxious executive who innocently expects, or even demands, to see not one but many solutions to a problem. These may include a number of visual and/or verbal concepts, an assortment of layouts, a variety of pictures and color schemes, as well as a choice of type styles. He needs the reassurance of numbers and the opportunity to exercise his personal preferences. He is also most likely to be the one to insist on endless revisions with unrealistic deadlines, adding to an already wasteful and time-consuming ritual. Theoretically, a great number of ideas assures a great number of choices, but such choices are essentially quantitative. This practice is as bewildering as it is wasteful. It discourages spontaneity, encourages indifference, and more often than not produces results which are neither distinguished, interesting, nor effective. In short, good ideas rarely come in bunches.”
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