9 Thoughts on Being Process-Oriented

I was reading last night in "101 Things I Learned in Architecture School" by Matthew Frederick. I was at number 29 and really loved what I read (though I've loved everything I have read in this book so far). It said something that I came to realize myself over the past year and a half, but I think he has clarified it better than I did:

Being process-driven, not product driven, is the most important and difficult skill for a designer to develop.

He goes on saying that being process driven means:

  1. seeking to understand a design problem before chasing after solutions;
  2. not force-fitting solutions to old problems onto new problems;
  3. removing yourself from prideful investment in your projects and being slow to fall in love with your ideas;
  4. making design investigations and decisions holistically (that address several aspects of a design problem at once) rather than sequentially (that finalize one aspect of a solution before investigating the next);
  5. making design decisions conditionally - that is, with the awareness that they may or may not work out as you continue toward a final solution;
  6. knowing when to change and when to stick with previous decisions; 
  7. accepting as normal the anxiety that comes from not knowing what to do;
  8. working fluidly between concept-scale and detail-scale to see how each informs the other;
  9. always asking "What if...?" regardless of how satisfied you are with your solution.

I think these 9 thoughts are helpful to review every now and then.