How do you tell a good idea from a mediocre one? How much polishing does a good idea need to become a great one? And how do you know when it’s time to call something complete?
As a UX designer, I’m faced with questions like these every day. Sometimes, the best idea is one you come up with in five seconds. Other times it’s the idea you slave over for five days. In the creative field, it can often feel impossible to quantify winning ideas. But as our name implies, States of Matter values science and design in balance, so every stroke of genius is backed by some sort of process. And while the best ideas can often be elusive, at the end of the day, hard work and dedication always pay off. Here are three things working at this agency has taught me:
1. Shoot for the Moon
We shoot for the moon with everything we do. This means we approach our work as well as day-to-day life with an appetite for grandeur. Constraints can smother creativity; aiming high gets to the heart of the problem fastest. Planning a company party? We see ice sculptures and champagne fountains. Decorating the office? Expect a display worthy of an art gallery. Team brunch? I made you pancakes in the shape of your face. We’re not naive; we know cutting back and refining is an inevitable part of every process, but starting small makes the final result even tinier. Why not start with the moon?
2. Leave No Stone Unturned
Sometimes the perfect idea just hits you over the head. You know it’s a winner, you’re sure of it, and you come into the office with a spring in your step because you’re about to blow the rest of the team away with your genius. You tell them, and they agree it’s a good idea. But then you keep brainstorming. Other ideas surface, questions are asked, your assumptions are challenged. An hour later, your idea has grown into an even better one because you explored, pushed, and refused to settle. This is everyday life at States of Matter – sometimes the greatest idea is hidden beneath the one you saw first, so discovering the best solution can require a little digging.
This mentality applies to our agency culture as well. Your job title doesn’t limit your tasks or define your abilities at States of Matter. Instead, we frequently push ourselves and each other to take on uncomfortable and unfamiliar challenges. Case in point, I’m writing an article for our blog! If you leave stones unturned, you may never discover hidden talents, interests, or opportunities.
3. Know When to Stop
This one is pretty simple: if you’re constantly shooting for the moon and turning over stones and questioning your limits, you’re going to be miserable. Sometimes, you just need to call something done and trust that your work is good because you’re good at what you do. Pushing and challenging yourself is important, but living a balanced life is imperative. Go home, have a margarita, watch some Netflix. The best ideas come from fulfilled people, so know when to call it quits and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.