Phase #1


Between August 2021 and August 2022, I talked with ~30 people who I knew to be thoughtful and creative.

How did these people tap into their voice? Did they too have a practice of capturing inspiration? If so, how? Would they ever revisit what they captured? How did they translate these experiences and ideas into actions and decisions?

I was motivated to develop a sense for whether the need I had noticed was a need other people experienced as well. This way, we (David and me) could gauge the the solution's potential appeal and decide whether the need was a stable enough reference point to orient the design of the app around.

These interviewed helped us to see that while the tools people used to capture inspiration varied (e.g. Apple Notes, texts and emails to themselves, Google Docs, physical notebooks, screenshots, Pinterest, Instagram bookmarks, post-it notes, 3x5 cards, scrap paper, etc.), commonalities emerged in the experiences people had with each of them.

People shared that:

  1. Revisiting is not a daily practice.

    • For some people, revisiting is an intentional practice that happens around the beginning of a new month or season or alongside a milestone like a birthday or job change.

    • For most people, revisiting happened sporadically, like on a flight or in the process of capturing something new or looking for something specific from the past.

  2. Resonance holds valuable clues

    • Happening upon what people took care to capture can ground them and remind them of who they are, provide the pause necessary to be intentional about a decision they are facing, and interrupt outdated habits.

  3. Making sense happens after the fact

    • What might this mean? When – if ever – will I want or need this? How might this relate to this other thing I’ve been thinking about?

    • People were united in not knowing and not needing to know answers to questions like these in the moment something is speaking to them. In fact, people acknowledge that it is likely that a small percentage of what they capture will end up being useful to them.

  4. Inspiration is emergent

    • While walking, in a meeting, listening to a podcast or song, watching YouTube, talking with a friend, sleeping (!), doing the dishes, reading a book…people shared that inspiration often surfaces in tiny moments while they’re “in the middle of something else.”

  5. Meaning lies between

    • People expressed curiosity about the patterns that might unite what they consistently think and feel about.

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