Somehow unexpectedly, at least three students (that I know of) are now in the process of writing their Master Thesis about the digital communication of the European Union pavilion at Expo Milano 2015.
Why do I say unexpectedly? Because, it is a very specific project which requires a lot of research behind the scenes. But hey, it was a very successful project both in terms of numbers and innovation and a totally disruptive communication idea for a European Union institution.
As flattering as this was, being interviewed by students on the work I do has been incredibly enlightening. I got literally “therapized” by one of these students who I recently met. Apart from being absolutely sure that this girl will go places, I was utterly impressed with her level of attention to details, analysis and the ability of choosing the very right questions.
Finding out that someone has read each and every post you wrote (and I mean this literally) puts you under pressure.
“So I noticed your strategy changed between 2013 and 2014 and I could definitely notice a different hand writing new content around October of that year…” Gulp…
“Also why in a number of Facebook comments I saw no reactions while I saw firms responses on other issues…” Double gulp…
“Yes, I have been following you on social media, trust me I do my homework…” Triple gulp
It was something in between an interview and a parliamentary hearing, especially when you are asked to justify things you haven’t actually paid much attention to.
Whenever you get an external view on your work you capture some things you normally wouldn’t in your own mindset. Or perhaps you wouldn’t have the courage to admit to yourself. I have recently experienced some big changes and I see every day how this affects my work, my thoughts and my life. We all need, every now and then, to change our mindset and do something out of the ordinary or we end up getting stuck in a rut and kill our creativity. Flexibility and the desire to create beautiful things is the bread and butter of what we do and it is very hard to keep this desire alive when things get “too comfy.” Stability can be your worst enemy if it doesn’t bring new challenges.
We have got to be open to criticism and think that not all we do is perfect and accept good advice from those who demonstrate, with their actions, that they deserve our attention and professional respect.
To cut a long story short, do get a student to write about your work. It’ll step up your game. Guaranteed