Question the familiar, the status quo, and typical ways things are done.
When you’re good at your job, people expect you to have all the answers. And many of us have been rewarded for knowing how things work in our industry. Figuring out new, better ways of doing things requires questioning how things are done today. “Why do I have to go to a counter to rent my car?” “Why can’t I subscribe to a cab service?” Questioning the status quo opens up new space for thinking and imagination. Apply this principle in every dimension of your project—when visiting the field, in small conversations, reviews of research, evaluating ideas. Question things creatively and cover different dimensions—what makes it good, what makes it bad, could it be done differently, can something be eliminated? Could it use low-tech, high-tech, or just a simpler approach? Unlike most questions you get, don’t be so quick to answer them. Let the question force exploration and insights.