Kill The Bloody Project?

What do you do when you start hating a project? When you start resenting an idea that in essence was pretty awesome, but in one way or another doesn’t really seem to work out? You’re trying and hanging on, and your other projects are also demanding your time and energy. So what do you do? Cut it loose? Keep on keepin’ on? Or is there another way?


It’s quite understandable that you want to liberate yourself from unnecessary ‘surplus’ that stops momentum in other projects in its tracks. Nevertheless, it is worth examining whether the idea is worthwhile to implement it anyway. But maybe in a very different way. Often it is not the idea itself that would be good, but the way in which you intended to implement it.

You can’t get no…satisfaction

Imagine, if you will, an idea for an exposition on urban living in skyscrapers. You have thought of a theme, you’ve gathered a project group, you have a digital pile of beautiful photography, and some 3D animation of new plans. Everything is present, and yet... one way or another, it doesn’t really feels new. Or personal. Or special. Or innovative. It has all been done before. Which is understandable, because skyscrapers have always been an eye candy topic. It’s easy on the eyes, and the pictures do the work. But if you do not feel satisfaction about the whole concept, it quickly becomes far less interesting. Banner here, 3D impression there, an animation, and of course the photos, and lots (and lots) of blueprints.

You’ve seen it all before. And so has everyone else.

The solution is often simple. Not easy (because often drastic), but simple. Leave the project results you’ve made thusfar aside for a moment. Go back to the core idea (urban living in high-rise buildings). What does this idea need to be special and controversial, to stimulate your senses, to touch you (even if you are not an architect or urban designer)?

Sprint towards a better concept that’s worthy of your idea

You could start a Design Sprint (Plus), to approach the concept from a fresh, different perspective. you’d consult other disciplines besides architecture or urban development. you’d investigate how you can enrich the experience of non-designers. Approach the exhibition from their perspective, but rather connect with them in their world, and meet them there. Approach ‘visual interest’ from their perspective. What would your core idee need, to be enriched? And how do you slide ego aside in designing expositions? After all, exhibitions are about making connections with people and art. Connecting worlds.

What a cool challenge you’d have then. And how inspiring would your design be then? It surely would be different than it would have been if you had just stuck it out. It stems from the same idea... but approached from a completely different perspective. And because you’re working on the concept in a Design Sprint, you’d have a prototype for the exhibition within a matter of days.

I help teams sprint towards these kinds of concepts, in Design Sprints and in The Creative Achiever Method. Sometimes I work with designers. Government officials. Entrepreneurs. Healthcare institutions. NGO staff members and directors. All people with a mission. People who have also wanted to turn their back on a project at some point. But nevertheless had the courage to look outside their own frame of reference, and in a Design Sprint, together, achieved results worth celebrating. They truly are creative achievers.