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Thoughtless Acts: Lovers’ Quarrel

Apr 08 2019

Human-centered design requires us to observe human behavior with beginner's eyes, so that we can spot the innate ways people interact with the world around them. We call these intuitive and unconscious reactions Thoughtless Acts, and IDEO designers collect photos of them to inspire their work.


Have you ever experienced one of those mornings when you are in the middle of an argument with your partner at home, but you’re late for work and you can't make peace? This was one of those days.

On my bike ride home, I get a text from her: Buy paper towels, please.

When your partner breaks the silence for something like this, you are either screwed or she is giving you a chance to reconcile. I already had in my head this image of the two of us, speaking words of love while wiping the kitchen counter with the newly bought Scottex roll.

So I enter the corner store down the road and find it. As I walk to the counter I see a bunch of red roses. Come on, cliche? I think to myself.

"I'll take them!" I say out loud. But how do I hold the roses on my last mile home?

It's then that I realize I have the perfect solution. I stab my bunch of roses through the hole of the paper roll so I can hold them under my arm, but no spike can sting me.

You might wonder if I made peace with her when home. I did. And I had also found an approach to conflict resolution. When in doubt, wrap your thorns in something soft.

  • Luca Ponticelli

    Communications Designer, IDEO London
    Luca is a comms designer and serial doodler. On an average day, you'll find him dissecting the latest political news while sipping on a dark espresso.

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