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Liminal Thoughts to Face New Challenges and to Identify the Right Problems

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Ida Di Bernardo
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Sometimes to improve a situation the problems that we encounter and the way we decide to formulate them are even more important than the solutions.

The starting point for this idea comes from a 2018 edition of Web Marketing Festival, where people spoke about Liminal Thinking written by Dave Gray. In his book, Gray explores practical ways to change the way we see the world in order to have a better understanding of problems and formulating them in a way to create desired changes.

Thinking about the principle according to which beliefs form the basis of everything that people say, think and do, Liminal Thinking refers to a mindset to create changes. When people questions their beliefs, their behavior changes, which in turn changes their lives.

The only place you can change is the present.
In an interview, Dave Gray explains that we can’t change the past and that the future doesn’t yet exist. The only place where we can make changes is now.
To make a change in our own lives he suggests to: deactivate “autopilot”, to live in the present and to pay a lot of attention to what is happening around us.

John Dewey said: “A problem well-defined is a problem half solved”.
The way that we contextualize a problem has a direct impact on our success in resolving it. This applies to different domains, from international development and sports on an
international level, to the establishment of career paths.

As designers, strategists and innovators we are all concerned with finding better ways to resolve problems and creating positive changes. Yet the majority of companies find it
difficult to troubleshoot and, as a consequence, correctly pinpoint the issue. In the absence of a well understood problem, how can we work on finding the right way of
solving it? What happens if the materialisation of the change that we want completely depends on the way you define/classify it?

Dilbert © 2016, Universal Uclick

The ability of riformulate problems is an important tool for developing imagination because it unlocks an array of solutions. Research can provide creative and innovative solutions and at times can completely eliminate the original problem. A good understanding of the problem, guides our team’s work and kick-starts the design process in the right direction, which provides clarity and care even in the following phases of the process. Our approach to design begins with an explorative workshop which analyses problems
that deserve to be solved, which provides the basis for the next breakthrough. All company stakeholders, including those in IT, participate in workshops to generate, test and obtain feedback on interactive prototypes, through the use of rapid prototyping, all before giving a solution.

Therefore in order to deal with new challenges and identify the real issues, it is necessary to continuously amend our ideas. Liminal thought is the art of finding, creating and using limits to create change. It is a type of awareness that makes way for improvement.

Ida Di Bernardo
Written by
Ida Di Bernardo

User Experience and Service Designer. She has a particular interest in artificial intelligence, vocal interfaces and strategic design. Ida guides projects along our design process, where research with users is at the core. When she's not working, every moment is good for traveling or trying her hand at cooking for loved ones and friends.