Eric Gillett, chair of the BYU Department of Design, explained how basic principles of design combined with gospel thinking help solve some of life's "wicked" problems at this week's BYU Devotional.
"Contrary to what you might expect, a ‘wicked’ problem does not refer to something evil or sinister," Gillett said, "but instead describes something so 'tricky' and complicated that it seems to defy solution. With wicked problems the situation is dynamic and often involves multiple variables."
Gillett explained that a good designer will often have a lot of uncertainty about a project, but recognizes the situation as an opportunity to innovate or disrupt the status quo. Faith also has an unparalleled connection to this principle of design.
"As you consider the condition of your own testimony, do not overlook the importance of doubt," Gillett said. "Doubt causes you to question; it causes you to study. It causes you to seek reassurance from loved ones and your leaders. Most importantly, it causes you to approach the Lord for guidance. Rather than a sign of rebellion, I believe it to be an essential part of the testimony building process."
But doubt isn't the end of the process. Gillett also suggested that individuals should prepare themselves by investing their own time and effort to find a testimony.
"The work of building testimony comes through the everyday activities of church membership – home teaching, serving as the ward nursery leader, personal prayer and study," Gillett said. "Chance dictates that if we choose to engage in the work of the church, rather than dabble in it, our minds will be prepared to recognize the Spirit’s confirmation."
Using a story of his grandparents' hardships in life to illustrate the work and effort needed to gain a testimony, Gillett said any individual can find their testimony, or solve any problem, by following his grandparents' example – taking one step at a time.
"When things don’t go as planned, taking a single step [forward] can cause self-doubt, fear and paralysis to fade," said Gillett. "Your confidence will increase and another step will then seem possible."
Designers use disruptive thinking, or "thinking outside, inside and under the box," to solve a challenge or problem. Some designers even use bisociation, or a mash-up of ideas, to find an unexpected combination. Gillett suggested BYU students do the same to find their own personal testimony.
"Thinking divergently about your testimony offers the chance to escape the familiar ruts and tired patterns of church membership," Gillett said. "If church life is stale, it’s time to disrupt your routine. Try home teaching on the first day of the month. Say one prayer without resorting to vain repetition. Sing harmony this Sunday, instead of the melody, and do it as loud as you dare."
Designers create a prototype to apply their greatest ideas in the testing phase. Prototypes are created to understand flaws in the design, and Gillett recommended students prototype early and often to find their success.
"From my own personal experience, if you have even a desire to believe, the seed of testimony can grow and take root within your heart."
Listen and Watch Gillett's address here.
Next Week: Unforum
The BYU Unforum, will be held on Tuesday, April 18, at 11:05 a.m., in the Marriott Center. Various BYU groups will be showcasing their talents. It will not be broadcast on BYUtv.