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STEAL THIS IDEA

The No-process
Process
BY MARTY NEUMEIER
Designers have been touting process for decades. Why? Because clients
need reassurance that their investment is safe. By turning creativity into
a rational business process, designers have persuaded companies to
trust them with mission-critical projects and substantial budgets. Process
equals predictability. But what does the rational process really predict?
Unfortunately, only sameness. If you want real innovation, you’ll need a
much different process.

LIQUIDAGENCY.COM

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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
The rational design process looks something like this:

LIQUIDAGENCY.COM

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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
Find out more about
the challenge using
interviews and research

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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
Determine the
scope and goals
for the project

LIQUIDAGENCY.COM

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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
Prototype and
assess a range
of ideas

LIQUIDAGENCY.COM

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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
Select and refine the
most promising idea

LIQUIDAGENCY.COM

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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
Launch the project

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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
All very logical. All very safe. And, in an era of innovation, all very wrong.
This linear, phase-by-phase structure guarantees that anything you learn
while working on one phase cannot be applied to a previous phase. The
arrow moves in one direction only. For example, if you discover something
exciting in the design phase, you can’t go back and redefine the challenge
to accommodate it. That door is closed.

LIQUIDAGENCY.COM

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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
A better process for innovation is something I call the “no-process process.”
It assumes that team members will uncover new ideas as they work.
Discovery, definition, and design are run on parallel tracks instead of a single
sequential track, so they can “talk” to each other and create surprising new
combinations. The arrow moves forward, backward, and in between, keeping
ideas in a “liquid” state as long as possible.

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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
LIQUIDAGENCY.COM

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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
LIQUIDAGENCY.COM

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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
LIQUIDAGENCY.COM

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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
This process was pioneered by the military, where it was called swarming.
The goal was to attack a problem from many angles at once, thereby
shrinking the time to action. At Liquid we use it to integrate brand programs
without compromising their integrity.
One caveat: The no-process process is not for sissies. It’s chaotic and
sometimes irrational. It’s a style of advanced creativity. But if your goal
is innovation, it’s the only style that works.

LIQUIDAGENCY.COM

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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
Find other Marty Neumeier ideas to steal at
liquidagency.com/blog

LIQUIDAGENCY.COM

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SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER

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Steal This Idea: The No-process Process / By Marty Neumeier

  • 1. STEAL THIS IDEA The No-process Process BY MARTY NEUMEIER
  • 2. Designers have been touting process for decades. Why? Because clients need reassurance that their investment is safe. By turning creativity into a rational business process, designers have persuaded companies to trust them with mission-critical projects and substantial budgets. Process equals predictability. But what does the rational process really predict? Unfortunately, only sameness. If you want real innovation, you’ll need a much different process. LIQUIDAGENCY.COM | SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
  • 3. The rational design process looks something like this: LIQUIDAGENCY.COM | SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
  • 4. Find out more about the challenge using interviews and research LIQUIDAGENCY.COM | SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
  • 5. Determine the scope and goals for the project LIQUIDAGENCY.COM | SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
  • 6. Prototype and assess a range of ideas LIQUIDAGENCY.COM | SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
  • 7. Select and refine the most promising idea LIQUIDAGENCY.COM | SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
  • 8. Launch the project LIQUIDAGENCY.COM | SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
  • 9. All very logical. All very safe. And, in an era of innovation, all very wrong. This linear, phase-by-phase structure guarantees that anything you learn while working on one phase cannot be applied to a previous phase. The arrow moves in one direction only. For example, if you discover something exciting in the design phase, you can’t go back and redefine the challenge to accommodate it. That door is closed. LIQUIDAGENCY.COM | SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
  • 10. A better process for innovation is something I call the “no-process process.” It assumes that team members will uncover new ideas as they work. Discovery, definition, and design are run on parallel tracks instead of a single sequential track, so they can “talk” to each other and create surprising new combinations. The arrow moves forward, backward, and in between, keeping ideas in a “liquid” state as long as possible. LIQUIDAGENCY.COM | SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
  • 16. This process was pioneered by the military, where it was called swarming. The goal was to attack a problem from many angles at once, thereby shrinking the time to action. At Liquid we use it to integrate brand programs without compromising their integrity. One caveat: The no-process process is not for sissies. It’s chaotic and sometimes irrational. It’s a style of advanced creativity. But if your goal is innovation, it’s the only style that works. LIQUIDAGENCY.COM | SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER
  • 17. Find other Marty Neumeier ideas to steal at liquidagency.com/blog LIQUIDAGENCY.COM | SOURCE: ME TASKILLS BY MA RT Y NEUMEIER