Why Good Design Comes from Bad Design

“After many painful review meetings, and hearing advice from seasoned designers, I learned the right way to present ideas – you have to show the other candidates in order to help support the good ones. I began the habit of presenting three to seven different ideas, culling from my total set of ideas the ones that represented the most distinctive or meaningful choices. When in a meeting I now walk through the different designs, calling out what the key trade-offs are between them. When discussing ideas, I call out important negative qualities that are only answered by the idea I’m recommending, which helps set up my recommendation to be well received. Often someone will make a good suggestion for taking something from design A and adding it to design B. That wouldn’t be possible if I had only fleshed out a single idea.” Scott BerkunWhy Good Design Comes from Bad Design (UI Web)

This is excellent advice, applicable not only to design and to communication in the buisness world, but also to any kind of argument. Just as a painter who wants to paint light needs to put a lot of dark in the picture for contrast, anyone who is advancing a particular idea needs to be able to present the opposing view (or several opposing views). If you neglect the opposing argument (reducing it to a straw man, or omitting it entirely), you aren’t doing a good job presenting your own argument.