Who would have known that whining and complaining would lead to a real, meaningful and perhaps even heroic role in our society?
OK, maybe the value is not in the whining and complaining but in recognizing that you may have stumbled upon an opportunity to improve your life and perhaps the lives of others.
Over the years, I’ve met different types of designers and innovators. I’ve met the one that runs into a problem, gets frustrated, picks up the computer and tries to bounce it off the floor. I’ve met many others who are very quick to shout all the possible problems with things but never really can see past them. Fortunately, I’ve had a few opportunities to meet individuals who identify problems and then seamlessly, shift perspective to understand them as opportunities.
I call it “problem flipping”. Visualize a problem as a card, then flip it to see the other side. The other side is the opportunity or solution that the problem affords.
(Yes, you can also do “solution flipping”. In that case you would flip the solution to discover the problems the solution affords. Both are useful within a thorough problem-solving process.)
Every time we are annoyed, bothered, angered, disappointed or saddened by something we have found a problem. If it’s shared by many others, then we may say that this is a common problem. In our societies we may consider these as social problems. In the business world, we may say that a problem shared by a sizable number of people may constitute a market. An integral designer would merge these two and understand them as both, a social problem and a market. Finding solutions help innovators, solve social problems while at the same time they create jobs and shared wealth.
I think that humans were equipped with the emotions of pain, anger, frustration, annoyance, disappointment, sadness as an innate tools to encourage positive change and innovation in our world. As children, we were unable to change things, so, we simply cried, complained or threw tantrums. As adults, we are able to change things and we need to move past those early habits into the more mature phase of design and innovation.
Your emotions are problem-solving tools — use them wisely. Find the solutions and opportunities hiding behind negative experiences by flipping them.