Stop coming up with solutions. Put down your pen, mouse and sketchbook… step away from the computer, pick up your camera and go out on the street. There lies a world of insights and inspiration, just by observing and exploring.
Some time ago I came across a video I immediately fell in love with (although I don’t know where to find it anymore *sigh*). In the video people got the assignment to show how they would put the light on and off without touching it. This resulted in a very inspirational video where you saw what kinds of gestures people would use. What this video mainly proved to me was the power of observation. By giving people this open assignment you saw the many different solutions people came up with (blowing, waving, clapping, etc), but at the same time the overlap and whether or not the gesture looked natural.
Observing is a great way to easily gather data and insights. It’s a way to jump into the world of your target audience and try to understand them. And… it forces you away from immediately thinking in solutions.
In line with this I came across this video from Nokia, where they explore mobile gestures out on the street:
One of my heroes in the field of observing is Jan Chipchase, who works for Nokia. He travels around the world observing how people, society and mobile technology interact. His blog Future Perfect is an absolute tip.