Creative Confidence


CreativeConfidenceDid you ever wish that someone would actually teach you how to be more creative? We are all born creative. What some of us lack is “creative confidence”. The book I would recommend for you is Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley. The Kelley brothers have the bragging rights to tell us a thing or two about ideas, creativity, design and more.  IDEO founder and Stanford creator David Kelley and his brother Tom Kelley, IDEO partner and the author of the bestselling The Art of Innovation, tell us how to believe in your own ability to be creative.

Check out this fascinating video on how to design the Shopping Cart

Creative confidence is about believing in your ability to create change in the world around you. It is the conviction and self-assurance in your creative capacity that drives innovation. This belief is like a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly to keep it strong.

Successful innovations arise out of a blend of three drivers. People must find it desirable, business must find it viable to produce and distribute it using their business model and be profitable and the technology used must make the idea feasible. Since the business and technical factors are taught, the book starts by looking at the “people factors” and how to understand the motivations and core beliefs that drive behaviors.

It is a myth to think that only the third world needs a Jugaad (the term used for a clever improvisation) approach to innovation. When we think of the fifty million Americans who lack medical insurance or the sixty million Americans who lack bank accounts, we know that this trend will accelerate.

Creative Confidence does a fabulous job of teaching us the four step approach to what they call Human Centered Innovation. At the heart of it lies the exploration to understand why do the people do what they do and that may hold the key to understand what they might do in future. Until you experience the world from the eye of the potential customer of your idea and know what they feel, think and believe, it is difficult to create the ideas in a vacuum.

Experiencing your own customer service can be a great way for any to understand what to fix. The TV show Undercover Boss  helps the CEOs of companies put on a disguise and join the employees doing back office jobs to understand their hopes, dreams and frustrations. There are similar stories of King Akbar accompanying Tansen to visit Swami Haridas to hear him perform.

David-Kelley-wThe book is full of ideas that you can try out. If you had to redesign your experience of getting a cup of coffee, how would you do it? Instead of getting on to the usual brainstorming session and coming up with ideas, the book recommends that you start by understanding why people are getting their coffee and drinking it the way they are. Imagine yourself as a detective in search of an insight. Sit in coffee shops and be a silent observer. Interview as many people as possible to find out why they did what you saw them do. What are their rituals around coffee drinking? How long do they actually spend while drinking coffee?

This book relies on the natural, coachable, human ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, and to construct ideas that emotionally meaningful as well as functional. Why not use the usual analytical and rational approach to achieve the same results? David and Tom Kelley tell us that if you have a problem that does not have metrics or data points, or one that cannot be analyzed easily, such an approach may be able to help you move forward using empathy, rapid prototyping and course correction.

Watch them talk about the book. Then read the book. I loved it.


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Read about Jugaad Innovation

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  1. Ellora Panda says:

    Creative confidence is about believing in your ability to create change in the world around you. It is the conviction and self-assurance in your creative capacity that drives innovation. This belief is like a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly to keep it strong…very aptly put in the book..
    But we know that most people are born creative. As children, we revel in imaginary play, we build a world o our own with lie characters, names, roles etc But over time, because of socialization and formal education, and the impact of the influence of the external environment around a lot of us start to stifle those impulses….And in the process that creative impulse is buried somewhere down only to be rediscovered at times through conscious efforts…

    What is your take in this???

  2. I agree that socialization and formalization tends to stifle creativity in some people. While there are some who live in the same environment and still stay creative. I believe that while everything is not teachable, everything is learnable.

  3. it is so true .
    we all have potential to be creative , but what stiffles the passion is the lack of confidence .
    we are afraid to be judged , to be ridiculed , to be criticised and so we do not step out of the comfort zone .
    we keep doing what we already know and good at .
    what is needed is courage and passion . to be able to feel passionate about doing something new and may be doing it differently and not feel daunted by fear of failure .
    Failure is likely initially because all new ventures are fraught with unknown quantities and set backs
    may be the trick is keep going and get better ..just do not give up ..

  4. Abhijit Bhaduri says:

    Monica – the creative people always do small prototypes and then gather feedback on the drafts. They fail fast and fail often. That builds their immunity towards failure without investing too much emotionally in one idea.

  5. i feel that investing emotionally absolutely is paramount to get an idea off the ground , provided we accept that others may not like / reject / criticise / hate it…so long i am prepared to listen and adapt the idea ….. ideas are like babies …born with imperfections but also potentials …need nurturing with patience to bear fruit

    Sorry if I sound a bit off with my head but right now I am working on something that needs a strong believe in my idea against some powerful opposition …

    if i come through it alright , I will tell you about it one day .

    Wish me luck !

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