If you remember the TAP ROOT of our permaculture tree (Class 1.2) is Observation, presented as an attitudinal principle, but also the main tap root of our whole tree.
That is because it is such a hugely fundamental principle for good design, and one that is often done badly, partially, too quickly or without enough awareness of our personal and cultural filters - and and of these can spell disaster or at best mediocre design.
When we answer the typical question "how do I start a permaculture design?" we usually answer "Observe, observe, OBSERVE!"
also known as Designer Checklist, PASE (Plants, Animals, Structures, Energy) Sheet, etc.
If you do an internet search for "Permaculture Client Interview questions", or "Designer Checklist Questions" you will find various examples of lists of questions (in some cases documents you can copy and adapt) that you can use for doing formal or informal interviews with the users of any design you're thinking about.
You might notice (if you're quite observant) that however in this class we don't spend much time on this at all, but instead emphasize there are many ways of listening, and standing in front of a 'client' with a clip-board giving them an interrogation is only a great idea in a limited number of cases.
Most of the time you will have to design the best way to interview YOUR particular clients, be they your children, you chickens, your professional 'boss' or any other kind of 'client', like the users of any land or structure you are wanting to design.
In this short video we see a well-known 'business guru' who very emphatically singles out 'strategic listening' as a key skill that can be developed.
A major reason we start our courses with teaching the Think & Listen technique (and the model behind it) + encourage its' frequent practice, is that it is a great way to learn deep listening (and multifunction with lots of other stuff).
Are you an 18 second designer?
Tom Peters uses an example from the healthcare industry to highlight the importance of listening. According to Tom, "the single most significant strategic strength that an organization can have is not a good strategic plan, but a commitment to strategic listening on the part of every member of the organization."