Ben Holliday

Discovery. We’re not scared

We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day! We’re not scared.

We're going on a bear hunt
Illustration from We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

As children we have a great sense of adventure.

Pick up almost any children’s story book and you’ll find characters setting off on exciting adventures. I’ve read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt many times with my young kids. They love it.

As adults we get scared. We sometimes get scared of other people. We lose our sense of adventure.

I’ve worked with lots of organisations. It’s time to be honest. We’re all a little bit scared of talking to the people that use our products and services.

No more excuses

A colleague admitted to me the other day that his team had been hesitant to get out the building. This is more common than you think. We’re all a little bit scared. We need to find our sense of adventure.

As I’ve said before. Discovering isn’t an exact science. It’s about getting a team out of the building understanding a problem together.

Alex MacLennan used a great example at this years service design in government conference when he talked about his team taking road trips together – “we take the entire team on the road with us”.

No more hiding behind prototypes

Too often the only time we leave the building is to wave a prototype at people. We need to be braver and talk to people. It’s easy to hide behind designs.

Making is a great way of understanding a problem but it’s important to do some research first. The only way you can really start to fully understand user needs is conversation.

Be brave

Good design is about other people’s stories.

Every one has a story to tell. Everyone is interesting if you’re prepared to talk to them. Start by listening and you’ll get to be part of other people’s adventures. Not just your own.

You have to go looking for these stories. Have an adventure.

Go together.

This is my blog where I’ve been writing for 18 years. You can follow all of my posts by subscribing to this RSS feed. You can also find me on Bluesky, less frequently now on X (formally Twitter), and on LinkedIn.