Optimists live longer, get better car parks, get the most out of the people around them and are generally happier.  Pessimists, well let’s talk about the optimists…

While the research supports that optimism is a great strategy for life, the kind of optimism displayed by Pollyanna just won’t cut it in the real world – in order to be the most successful thinkers we can possibly be, it is great to have a mix of both optimism and pessimism.

Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.

We approach a design process from both perspectives…

We design with the most optimistic thinking possible and create something kinda wonderful, something that will create meaningful change, something that others will think is just not achievable.

Once we have a strong picture of the optimistic design, we then switch hats and become the pessimist.

We look at our design and think like a pessimist, we ask “what are the big risks?” we identify the things that could go wrong and we find the things that the haters would say.

Then we find the middle ground…

Armed with the optimistic and the pessimistic view we are inspired by what we could achieve and we take the pessimistic view as opportunities to refine our design to ensure that the worst doesn’t happen.

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Written by Lisa Smith

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Lisa is a professional thinker dedicated to helping people unlock their innate creativity and to empower them to think differently – for themselves. She is passionate about building innovative cultures and about harnessing and engaging talent to create thinking communities. Lisa holds an MBA, specialising in organisational change and innovation, which forms the nucleus of her work. She relishes opportunities to share the Minds at Work thinking strategies with government bodies, socially responsible corporate, educators, community groups and farmers, helping them to turn their big ideas into realities.