Listen, imagine, create! 

I recently learned about design-thinking, a process by which all good creatives arrange and plan their work.

The process was described to me as A-c-d-B:  or ‘listening’ (A) followed by imagining (B) then by planning (c) and creating (d).


The first step is to LISTEN. By listening well one begins to understand one’s context and environment. Listening entails paying attention to all the factors and elements of ones reality. Active-listening entails listening to people in the environment and their narratives and motives. This builds empathy.

From here one can begin to feel an ache – the ache that takes the creative to the next phase – IMAGINE. One can begin to dream and visualise how things should be and could be. One dreams of the solution to the chaos, confusion, pain or inconvenience of the now.

Just as proper listening yields empathy, then true empathy yields good imagining. From here we move to PLANNING and CREATION – the logical steps in which one prioritises and brings imagination into reality. This moves the ‘now’ forward towards the imagined ideal solution.

At every stage one can pause again to listen and imagine. Good listening yields good imagining and then more planning and more creation.

Architecture, engineering, graphic-design, illustration, storytelling  – when all these follow good design-thinking they yield nuanced creations situated in reality, responding to the lived environment and meeting the needs of this environment.

What will you listen to, imagine and create today?



Here you can see my friends and I who enjoyed a weekend of listening, imagining and creating recently at a retreat weekend run by Compass.


The Soul of Relationship

One regularly hears the epithet that ‘communication is key’ to relationships.  If you can truly listen, hear each others perspective, express your views – you can evade a multitude of woes. Learn each others love language, learn each others Myer-Briggs personality profile, understand each others’ family of origin narrative and so on.

I recently complimented a 5 year old girl on her beautiful hair and dress, calling her a princess. Her aunt promptly added, ‘and we love you for your brains and personality darling.’ Yes – I was a child who hated that adults cou-cou’d children, clucking to them and calling them cute! Especially as a girl, it becomes frustrating to not be asked about ambitions and thoughts. How have I slipped into being that adult?

If stories express a voice, the perspective of characters, then they contribute to our human conversation.  The more we read stories, the more communication we receive, the more we are forced to hear the perspective of others and to empathise and understand.

However, the more stories we read from the same kind of people – the more we hear one voice. Do we find ourselves sliding into stereotypes and views of gender, race, social class, political view, religion? Stories need a multitude of voices from a multitude of people and persepctives to contribute to our conversation.

To flourish as humans, our happiness stems from good communication, and for this to occur we need to hear and listen to good stories.