Getting Unstuck

Happy New Year!

Every New Year brings resolutions and for me that includes taking time to clear my office shelves of books that I no longer use or that simply didn’t live up to the book’s marketing hype.  For the past 15 years, this annual ritual has helped make room for new discoveries and formed a collection of resources that continue to inform, influence and inspire me today.  In 2011, I’ll share recommendations on some of the best resources I’ve come across on topics in design, research, story, strategy, and visual thinking.  Some books may be harder to find or may not be available digitally, but I’ll share a link to a source whenever I can.  First up is a strategy book I discovered a few years ago and continue to recommend to colleagues, clients and friends.

When you need a creative excursion to get unstuck.

I recommend checking out Unstuck by Keith Yamashita and Sandra Spataro whenever you are feeling stuck and need to challenge your point of view or get a fresh perspective, particularly when a team project is losing momentum.  While the book won’t solve the problem, it will help you reframe and rethink your approach and explore potential paths to get the project back on track.

What I like most about the book is that it takes a refreshingly non-linear approach to think creatively about issues and is not intended to be read cover to cover.  Instead, the authors have designed the book to be a visual journey and exploration to think about a problem, diagnose its symptoms and causes and start formulating ideas to move forward.  The authors meld systems thinking, design, simplicity, visual tools, case studies and exercises to create a playful approach to thinking about problems and potential solutions.  The cornerstone of their approach is that the best way to get unstuck is to have more fun.  When is the last time a strategy book suggested that you need to have more fun?

This is a creative resource you can pick up and flip through anytime you are wrestling with a problem, need to reframe an issue or generate ideas to create momentum.

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/Joanna Glab