Solution Seduction

graffiti of human heart

Ever fallen in love with your own idea? I have. There is a time and place for this kind of love, and when you get the timing wrong, it really stings.

Solution seduction is a term we started using at Huddle in 2009 when we were trying to explain the difference between a convergent engineering process versus a divergent design process. Having been an engineer designing human experiences first, I am very familiar with the process of coming up with an idea and bringing that idea into reality, in its original form, as you conceived it. This really is a great feeling.

Though sometimes we fall in love too early. We become attached to a solution when we are still learning about the context of design. We are still uncovering new information about the needs and motivations of the people we are designing for. We are still understanding the limitations of what the technology can do, or what the organisation can feasibly support.

When you converge too early on a solution, the design process feels heavy. This is because you are constantly fighting to keep your idea alive, when new information is coming in that might suggest otherwise.

This is how you can tell you’ve fallen victim to solution seduction and converged too early:

  1. You have a fixed perspective on how your idea will become reality.
  2. You perceive others’ ideas as criticisms and feel you need to defend yours.
  3. You feel others’ suggestions are not as good as your original idea or don’t improve it.
  4. You think if you don’t create it exactly as it is in your head, it will be wrong.
  5. You find it really hard to compromise on any aspect of your idea.

This is particularly dangerous when the pressure is on and you have to come up with a solution straight away. Which is often how we perceive things to be in business.

Here are three things to ask yourself as an antidote to solution seduction:

  1. Have I considered more than my idea for how to address this challenge?
  2. Am I feeling pressure to find an answer at the risk of not understanding the problem first?
  3. What is the ideal outcome and how many different ways might we attain that?

Always have your wits about you. Fast solutions can feel like they are getting you out of jam quickly. Sometimes they’ll be perfect, though when they are not, they are expensive and difficult to undo.

It is always worth checking whether you are under the influence of solution seduction, and if you are, perhaps you need to see other… ideas.