The joy of practicing design is that the entire world is your playground.

There’s really no telling what the next assignment will bring, and therefore we find it terribly useful to be interested in the everyday life around us. This essentially means being aware of, interested in and taking constant notes of what is happening around us.

This everyday sleuthing requires no special equipment and can be as simple as eavesdropping on conversations in public spaces, keeping an eye on what people are buying at your local supermarket, or casual conversations with the cab driver about sports, politics or weather.

The key is to observe people in their environments – beyond our carefully curated spaces or networks – allowing us to constantly build a repository of lived experiences beyond our own

The casual collective process of constant observation often enables us to have a richer view of people as users or consumers. It provides a deeper sense of the time and place our users live in. It allows us to be open to ideas and to move beyond biases. Most of all, it keeps us ready to hit the ground running, with every new conversation and every new challenge.