Recently I overheard a conversation about the latest celebrity chef that went something like this:

“His dishes are SO brilliant… if ridiculously extravagant, what with all that fat. And sugar. And salt. Ok, so they’re a heart attack on a plate, not the kind of thing you’d actually cook, especially since they’re so complicated and time-consuming… his ingredients are really obscure and expensive and the cleaning up afterwards is horrendous.

But, if you’re prepared to substitute ingredients, skip lots of steps and reinterpret his instructions, the results are… delicious.

Not that you could eat a lot, because it’s just too much”.

It’s easy to see how a chef surrounded by apprentices, helpers and financial backers would have no reason to care about cost, effort, time, resources, health or waste; presumably they’re someone else’s problem.

But if that someone is the person you’re supposed to be designing for then your brilliant idea is doomed from the beginning.

Because the real test of any design always comes, not in the ideal world of the genius but in the real world of the rest of us.

Only when it works for us does it work at all.


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Written by Jason Clarke

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Celebrated author, adventurer, gold medal Olympian and popular TV chef; Jason is none of these things. He is, however, one of the most sought-after creative minds in the country. As founder of Minds at Work, he’s helped people ‘think again’ since the end of the last century, working with clients across Australia in virtually every industry and government sector on issues ranging from creativity and trouble shooting to culture change and leadership.