Lesson #18: Be prepared, but dare to improvise.
—Kristin Breivik, Class of 2012
This lesson is partly about the respect for other people’s time—inspired by the memorable closing keynote by Paul Ford at my graduation day in 2012: “If we are going to ask (people) to spend their heartbeats on us, on our ideas, how can we be sure, far more sure than we are now, that they spend those heartbeats wisely?”
In other words, make sure you never waste other people’s time, but prepare your talk, plan your workshop, write and rewrite your text, test and tweak your product. However, after you’ve prepared, planned, rewritten, rehearsed, tested and tweaked, be ready to throw it away. Read your audience, listen to your audience, admit when you’re wrong, and dare to improvise. Your contribution to the world should rarely be a script, but rather be a framework. When people feel they can contribute their own ideas is when we all move forward.
Kristin Breivik is an Interaction Designer at NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation), Oslo, Norway.