Earlier this week the San Francisco IxDa hosted a talk by Peter Stahl about The Rhythm of Interaction. As part of his presentation, Peter talked about Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s notion of Flow – “the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.”
Yesterday I came across a podcast I did a few years ago with the folks from Lunar where we talked about how speed, creativity and innovation intertwine in the design process and about getting results through design research. You can listen to the podcast here but meanwhile here’s a snippet where I describe entering a flow state when interviewing users.
And all the power of noticing and stepping back and slowing yourself down and just disengaging yourself from the need to be making things happen, is just sort of creating that space and t hat’s where insights happen. That’s where creativity can happen. And I’m sure you guys have seen that moment when you’re in the field, where you have all this responsibility to be managing a session and managing the other people in the session and making sure you stick to your time, and it’s a lot of, lot of work. Your brain is just firing on all its cylinders. And then sometimes for me there’s that moment where you kind of – it’s almost like a hyperspace moment where the starts start to just stretch out. Things just get really, really quiet in my head and suddenly, I’m just riding it. Things are sort of happening and I’m riding it, and that can be – it’s, I guess, a flow moment, right? Things can be really insightful at that moment. I don’t know that I’m bored, but if I had to contrast that to the stimulation of trying to run everything and run everybody, that seems to be a really kind of creative moment for me when that happens.
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