When I was a little kid, I had wooden blocks and Play-Doh (and Lego and Tinker Toys when I was at my grandmother’s house). I’d spend all afternoon making something, only to have to take it down and rebuild it another day. But each time I restarted a project, I was already thinking about how to make it better than I had the last time I made it.
The same was true with my dress-up box. I was constantly experimenting with putting different pieces together and finding more interesting ways to embellish my creations. (Okay, so there were some styles I was so completely hooked into that i couldn’t see past them, but smart designers call that “creating a signature”.)
Building, improving, and rebuilding a design is part of children’s play. It’s part of how they learn and explore; each new rebuilding brings lessons from the previous building. Somehow or other, as they grow up, the skill sometimes shrinks or leaves altogether. And that’s a problem. Grown-ups need the ability to iterate, to create prototypes or models, to critique their creations, and then to tweak them. It’s how better products are made. It’s how progress is made.
It’s also how each person’s voice is found. No two people are going to iterate from the same starting point the same way, and that gives us the diversity that makes this world interesting.