The human mind is a messy place. That’s why I’m a huge fan of getting ideas out-and-about. Ever encountered the concept of semantic externalism? It’s an idea from linguist/philosopher Hillary Putnam – that the meaning of an idea (term) is determined, in whole or in part, by factors external to the creator (speaker). This means that no matter how much an idea makes sense to you, once you get it out of your head and others start to engage with that idea, its value and meaning change – for both you and them. And so it is with designing. Any process of making things that is direct-to-medium comes with a higher chance failure if it’s not externalized in more temporal mediums prior to production.
I love to get ideas out of my head (and others) by drawing on whiteboards. Before any great idea is found within a great product, it starts as a seed that is shared, critiqued, and vetted with others. Here are some shots of whiteboard work: workflows, concept mapping, and screen shot.