Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Aug 2019

Friction Has A Perspective

Perhaps innovation’s perspective is bound by personal friction

One discussion often turns into many. It is excellent when several disparate, disconnected conversations begin to carry a common theme. Not forced, but something more organic. A tweet and it’s resulting thread illuminated an obstacle to a wider change, found on a much personal level — friction.

I am wildly inefficient on my phone. For me, any coordinating or communicating is best done on a laptop. Anyone else feel this way?

@BradFrost on 13 Aug

Thoughts while reading the thread more or less landed here: how does one design beyond the limits of their own cognitive behaviors? Can they if the personal friction that brokers their workspaces is so embedded?

Meaning, there’s probably a clearer reason why some innovations take longer to become “mainstream.” It is because of enough (loud) personal friction by just enough folks isn’t able to be overcome and so a narrative is formed and reiterated. What’s most iterated? That the newer tool/feature/behavior doesn’t do what the old one had done as easily?

It probably magnifies exponentially when a luminary in the (older) method takes the opinion public. At that point it is no longer just one’s personal feeling, but now it’s validated by someone with reputation.

Does it mean we should keep personal friction points to ourselves? Probably not. But, we might be better taking steps forward if we realize that whatever the friction is, has a perspective which might ripple well beyond our own “it feels uncomfortable.” Those who can overcome such a perspective open themselves up to a phase change. The change is transformative, and likely results in an inability to shape themselves into the former behaviors/perspectives any more. Their friction is now in convincing those who couldn’t move past theirs that there’s something beyond where they are. And what’s beyond will likely transform everything to come. Such a perspective is a new measurement not only of success, but of life itself.