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Chapter 11. Designing for People > Reality Bats Last

Reality Bats Last

The typical engineering process begins with a recitation of the constraints and limitations. The catechism of things “we cannot do” is stated often and forcefully enough to become doctrine, regardless of its truth. Interaction designers must keep a healthy suspicion of all assumptions about what cannot be done. Time and again, we find ways around such assumed limitations merely because we refuse to accept them at face value.

Of course, sometimes those limits are real, and we cannot get around them, but there is great value in trying anyway. Even if we cannot finesse a constraint, our journey down the dead-end path might shed light on some previously hidden opportunity. This process is based on the “lateral thinking” work of Edward de Bono.[1]

[1] Edward de Bono, Lateral Thinking, Creativity Step by Step, 1970, Harper & Row, New York, New York, ISBN: 0-06-090325-2.


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