In the beginning of my professional career, I often struggled with status meetings. They regularly turned into back-and-forth conversation with a client who was making weird design suggestions. I often left these meetings feeling very confused, uncertain and demotivated after weeks of passionate effort.

It took me a while to figure out what was happening and how I could improve my workflow. With this article, I want to share my learnings after years of streamlining creative dialogue.

A Clear Understanding

Looking back at these confusing meetings, I noticed that we often discussed visual or technical issues without a clear understanding of the business goals — sometimes even without clear objectives at all! Instead of identifying the true problems and expectations, we immediately jumped to design suggestions that were based on personal opinion, assumption and gut feeling.

One of the most important improvements I made was introducing a learning phase in every new project we did. Its purpose is to make sure the entire team has a clear understanding of the problem(s) we are going to address, both for the business and the user. We approach this simply by asking the right questions and listening carefully. Here are a few of my favorite questions, which I’ll fire off during a strategic workshop with a client or while interviewing current or potential customers.

If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.

– Albert Einstein


Running interviews shouldn’t be complex. It’s all about facilitating the conversation and helping to detect the real needs, problems or expectations. Start the interview by asking some of the questions above, and let others do the talking at first. Here are a few guidelines we use to process the answers and turn them into valuable learnings and observations.

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