Dear Siri

If you have an iPhone, I’d like to suggest a whimsical experiment. Try talking to Siri. And try to think of phrases that might solicit an unusual response (considering you’re talking to a phone).

Here are some starter ideas:

  • Siri, what should I do?
  • Siri, do you like me?
  • Siri, beam me up.
  • Siri, I’m sad.
  • Siri, are you ok?
  • Siri, how are you today?
  • Siri, what is the meaning of the universe?

While this is good fun, pre-programmed responses don’t do well for real conversations. However, there is something you may want to consider the next time you are brainstorming. Some great ideas and perspectives can come from entirely unexpected sources.

There is a concept in brainstorming where you want involve someone who may not be an expert in the subject matter, but can look at the situation from an outside perspective.

For example, a maintenance worker at Joel Osteen’s church happened to be around when lighting and set design was being discussed. He gave the idea that they could use a huge fish net suspended from the ceiling that would catch light in an interesting way. I hear it worked great!

Another church routinely brings in a mix of unchurched folks, a few staff members, and various church members to creative meetings. They are able to give perspective on what might need to be clarified or explained in the services.

While Siri’s input only goes so far, consider that there may be unexpected sounding boards that can give perspective to your situation.

One idea for webdesign. Have someone take a look at the design, perhaps even from several feet away from the screen. Ask them what the page is about. Is it clear what single action the site visitor is being asked to take?

The flipside is that you need to be open to ideas while at the same time filtering the feedback. For instance, I am not suggesting that a graphic design project should be dictated by a client’s neighbor’s daughter’s college roommate who happened to be visiting over break and thinks that the logo should have different colors and a drop shadow. But if they point out that the acronym you’re using has a widespread vulgar meaning, definitely look into it.

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