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#16 Hint

As an expert in your discipline you often teach too much and tell people what to do more often than you should. This can give people the feeling they are being patronised and can be a blocker to a collaborative co-design approach. So better hint, don't tell or lecture!


“People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.” - Blaise Pascal

You want your co-creators to actively contribute to the collaborative Enterprise Design task.


As an expert in your discipline you often teach too much and tell people what to do more often than you should. This can give people the feeling they are being patronised. They may feel you think you are smarter than they are and are using your explanations to demonstrate that in public. Telling people what to do and how to do it, reduces their sense of autonomy, which creates resistance, even if they agree with your instructions.


You communicate in a way that helps people discover what they need to know and what they should do, rather than telling them. You never assume people agree with you but:

  • When explaining complex diagrams and concepts, you explain the basics and invite people to ask you for clarification if they want to know more;
  • When needing people to do certain things, you explain the outcomes and benefits of what you need and help them discover for themselves how they could respond;
  • You help them discover the same insights you discovered, using your own journey of discovery and learning;
  • You create ample opportunities for your audience to predict what’s coming before you show it.


People experience the “aha” moments of connecting the dots by themselves. This helps to connect them to the collaborative Enterprise Design task, socially, emotionally and intellectually..

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About the author

Milan Guenther

Milan Guenther

Intersection Group
Paris, France

Milan is president of Intersection Group and a co-founder of Enterprise Design Associates, working with enterprises like Google, SAP, Toyota, ThoughtWorks, OECD and the UN. 12 years back, Milan launched a social software startup and designed a patented innovation for Boeing's flight decks. Today, he works with enterprises of all shapes and sizes, to make them deliver and useful to people. His first book Intersection introduces this Enterprise Design approach, and he is co-organising the Intersection conference series since 2014. He is co-author of the book Enterprise Design Patterns and key contributor to EDGY, an Open Source tool for co-creating better enterprises, adopted by organisations around the globe.