5 Creativity Lessons from Facebook's Soleio Cuervo

by Mike Brown

5 Creativity Lessons from Facebook's Soleio CuervoThe Wall Street Journal ran a profile this past weekend on Soleio Cuervo, a product designer and member of the team that created the Facebook “Like” button. Since I always appreciate a profile that looks behind the scenes at how someone who creates does the creating, I recommend you check the article out if you haven’t seen it already.

In the meantime, here are 5 creativity lessons from Soleio Cuervo and his Facebook experience that stood out in the Wall Street Journal article:

  1. Before you start creating, push yourself to look for intriguing analogous situations to what you’re working on. Learn from how others address comparable situations to yours.
  2. Plan in a different creative medium than you’ll ultimately implement in. Draw the document you’re creating. Write prose about the design you’ll be doing.
  3. Test what you’re working on with real-life situations/data/elements, etc. Real users don’t use things in clean elegant ways; they beat on them and use them incorrectly. Your testing should do the same.
  4. When creating, you have to look closely at what you’re doing, but also step far away from it to see what things look like at a distance. You’ll see very different patterns and specifics.
  5. Just because you spent a lot of time on something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be willing to walk away from it if it’s not right. You’ll spend more time fixing it or disaffecting others by keeping what’s clearly not on target.

Interestingly, Cuervo says that he invests 80% of his work into planning what to design. How much time do you spend planning what you’re going to do?


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Mike BrownMike Brown is an award-winning innovator in strategy, communications, and experience marketing. He authors the BrainzoomingTM blog, and serves as the company’s chief Catalyst. He wrote the ebook “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” and is a frequent keynote presenter.