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Why a beginner’s mindset is key in design 

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Over the past few years, the team at Initiate has actively embraced and encouraged what is commonly known as the beginner’s mindset. We’ve come to recognize the value of promoting open-ended learning, and have integrated it into our approach to our own operations and developing client work. This mindset is not only infectious, but we’ve also found it crucial for our sustainable growth.

Embarking on the beginner’s journey can be riddled with tension and awkwardness in any situation. Transitioning from a novice to a level of competence is a process most of us are eager to expedite. Often, we push the initial learning phase to the back of our minds as we progress beyond the self-consciousness that marked our humble beginnings. We all really want to be considered good at what we do, and aspire towards expertise. 

However, in a landscape marked by the rapid evolution of technologies, trends, and practices, the concept of welcoming continuous change really has become the norm. Learning, once viewed as an auxiliary skill for those viewed as an expert, is now a fundamental requirement. This constant evolution often leads us back to the starting point, with an uncertain destination in mind—a situation that many professionals are reluctant to acknowledge.

Leave room for the unknown

So, why should we all embrace being a beginner? The essence lies in the realm of possibilities. In the field of creative marketing, facing branding projects prompts us to consider how businesses can expand their reach across an ever-growing array of digital platforms, even if it wasn’t initially part of the client brief. While having a framework of limitations is essential to make a project seem achievable, creating space for discoveries is equally vital to unlock new potential.

There’s a magic inherent in the early stages of any creative work. Amidst the mistakes there are discoveries. Venturing into uncharted territory forces us to confront surprises, unveiling new insights. With experience, we tend to see what we expect and default to the familiar. Embracing the beginner’s mindset ensures that we remain open to the unexpected and continually uncover new perspectives.

How we embrace the beginner’s mindset at Initiate

There are clear benefits any professional team can tap into, and it can be kicked off in small simple ways that eventually snowball into bigger cultural changes. We started by encouraging each other to explore topics outside our immediate expertise, actively seeking out opportunities for learning, both within and outside the organization. That meant attending conferences, workshops and training sessions to stay abreast of industry trends and emerging technologies. It also meant listening to the experiences of colleagues as they tackle a new challenge, feeding their insight into everyone’s cycle of growth.

Sharing the learning process has been key, as an inescapable part of being a beginner is accepting mistakes are par of the course. Failure is a positive element if you want to fuse more managed risk-taking and experimentation into a creative environment. To support this is an acknowledgement that we need to allow more time into our process as we grow. It’s a longer road, but worth the extra investment.

Changing a mindset is something that requires humility and patience. We’ve found that as a team, if we recognize this, and promote maintaining a beginner’s mind in our daily process, it becomes more than a strategy on an individual level—it becomes a part of the company’s DNA.