In praise of observation

When I started my business, I kept hearing this was the top advice to "make it":

"be useful".

I love how that sounds. Something in me tells me it's true.

But I found it very complicated.


I don't know if it's because I am a self-centered artist or because I am one of the millennials with narcissistic traits, but I found it a bit vague, and hard to implement (is there a thing such as too useful? or too little? How about being useful outside my expertise?).

Here is something that I figured has helped me understand HOW to be useful (and key to innovation, too):

be observant.


This doesn't mean that you become a wallflower.

It means you turn into a private detective (hell yeah).


Here's how:

1- Put yourself in situations where you interact with people: fb groups, instagram, blogging, real life conversations (I am an introvert, too, find a place that makes you comfortable). Rather than try and pour all your wisdom, listen.

2- Take mental note of things people say often.

3- Try to spot trends (For example: is it the same when people tell me "I am too busy" and "I feel am not on top of everything i need to do"? Or are they different problems?).

4- Then see how you can solve these problem trends (the Idea Wheel might be useful for this).

5- Try it out. Test your theory. Here is where you become useful, and think of it as a win-win. You can see if your advice or solution works, they get help.


Surprise, another desing-thinking-esque structure! I guess it's just how I'm wired.

Found yourself wondering how to be useful, too? got any other tricks? Send me an email!