A great book for anyone looking to develop their creative thinking.
Successful innovation programmes balances three factors - viability, feasibility and desirability.
Innovating routinely with design thinking - where businesses have complex problems, design thinking may be able to help you move forward using tools such as empathy maps and rapid prototyping
Nurturing creativity - Professors at Stanfords d.school encourage students to dig deeper to understand situations better, observing people’s behaviours in order to identify latent needs and opportunities
A growth state of mind - the first step towards achieving creative confidence is to let go of the belief that you are not creative. You have to believe that learning and growth are possible.
Design thinking is about always acting with intention. Most people tend to go with the default option while design thinkers make everything a conscious and original choice.
Guided mastery - a method for curing phobias (Albert Bandura, psychology professor/researcher at Stanford University). The basic premise of the method is to take small, incremental steps. It draws on the the power of firsthand experience to remove false beliefs. It incorporates psychology tools like vicarious learning, social persuasion, and graduated tasks.
The failure paradox - early failure is crucial to success in innovation. The faster you find weaknesses during an innovation cycle, the faster you can improve what needs fixing
Fear of failure holds us back from learning all sorts of new skills, from taking on risks, and from tackling new challenges.
Learning from failure is essential to creativity, you have to figure out what went wrong and what to do better next time.
Viewing experiences through the lens of failure forces you to come to terms with the mistakes you have made along the way,
Traditional schooling systems are destroying creativity. “We’re now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. “Education is the system that’s supposed to develop our natural abilities and enable us to make our way in the world. Instead, it is stifling the individual talents and abilities of too many students and killing their motivation to learn.” (Sir Ken Robinson, education expert).
Let go of comparison - If you are concerned about conforming or about how you measure up to others’ successes, you won’t perform the risk taking and trailblazing inherent in creative endeavours.”
“Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Innovation is fuelled by a restless intellectual curiosity, deep optimism, the ability to accept repeated failure as the price of ultimate success, a relentless work ethic, and a mindset that encourages not just ideas, but action
Steps to move from a blank page to insight:
To embrace that level of experimentation, don’t get stuck in the planning stage. Innovation is all about quickly turning ideas into action. That necessity for getting things moving has its basis—at least metaphorically—in the fundamentals of science
The first step toward being creative is often simply to go beyond being a passive observer and to translate thoughts into deeds. With a little creative confidence, we can spark positive action in the world
Stop planning and start acting - In order to bypass the barrier in your way, you have to be focussed on taking action, getting things done now. “Do or do not. There is no try.” - Yoda
Anne Lammot, Bird by Bird - “Her ten-year-old brother had been assigned a school report about birds and hadn’t started on it until the night before it was due. “We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilised by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’ ”
Boundary conditions can spur more creativity, not less.
Experiment to learn - The best kinds of failures are quick, cheap, and early, leaving you plenty of time and resources to learn from the experiment and iterate your ideas.
Prototyping a shared experience - Good prototypes tell a story, and if you can get the audience to become part of that story, the prototype can be even more persuasive.
“Tension between the heart and the dollar illustrates a big theme in our lives”
Amy Wrzesniewski, professor of organisational behaviour at Yale - “people have one of three distinct attitudes toward the work they do: they think of it as either a job, a career, or a calling.”
How do you know what you were born to do? - what puts you in to a “flow” state, when time seems to slip away and you are completely immersed in an activity for its own sake. (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, positive psychologist)
Creative culture is essential to routine innovation.
Phases that corporations go through to strengthen their ability to innovate (Mauro Porcini, chief design officer at PepsiCo)
“People at every level need to understand how to influence culture and cultivate change.”
Office environments need to facilitate and nurture creativity. “An office environment can be numbing or it can be energising. … An open space facilitates communication and transparency”
Use language to shape your culture - “When you influence the dialogue around new ideas, you will influence broader patterns of behaviour. Negative or defeatist attitudes spawn negative or defeatist words. The opposite is also true.”
“How might we …?” Is a great alternative to negative speech patterns
Liz Wiseman, author of Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, all leaders lie somewhere between:
“Societal pressures and corporate norms nudge us toward ideas and behaviours that are “appropriate” or expected.”
Just take it “bird by bird.” Pretty soon, you’ll start to feel more creative confidence.
Strategies to start increasing creativity:
Observations about what people DO in the lower-left quadrant
Observations of what people SAY in the upper-left quadrant
Fill the right side with Post-its, inferring what people THINK in the upper-right quadrant and what they FEEL in the lower-right quadrant.
"Take a step back and look at the map as a whole. Try to draw some insights or conclusions from what you have just written down, shared, and talked about."
Every time you have an idea or observe something intriguing take note of it. Use any means to capture thoughts (e.g. small notebook, iPhone notes app etc.).
Develop more empathy with—and gain new insights about—your customers is to look beyond the narrow definition of your offering and consider the customer’s total experience.
Image credits: Creative Confidence by David Kelly and Tom Kelly