Most people believe that creativity is something you either have or you don’t - Tom Kelley and David Kelley, authors of ‘Creative Confidence - Unleashing the creative potential within us all’ will have you think otherwise.
I stumbled across this book when I took the kids to the library this week. They were distracted by Duplo long enough for me to grab a book for myself. I’m glad it was this one. The Kelley brothers write that everyone is creative - even the people who don’t think they are. All you need is some guidance on how to unleash your creative powers to begin building your creative confidence.
The book is broken down into actionable steps/chapters and is supported by some incredible stories from the real world. One of the brothers, David, started the d.school at Stanford University - this was the first I’d read about it and it sounds amazing. It's basically a design school inside the University that takes students from every graduate school of Stanford and gets them to work on real world challenges in multidisciplinary teams. They are taught design thinking to help tackle problems, things like reframing the question/problem to open up different avenues to a solution.
There is an incredible story about a group from the d.school that was given the task to research and design a low cost incubator for developing countries. The obvious solution was to redesign the current incubator, removing parts and pieces until it was cheaper and more accessible.
One of the group went to a hospital in Nepal to get some first hand insights into how current incubators were being used. To their surprise, there were actually plenty of incubators available in the hospital - some of them empty, even. When they inquired why, they learnt that in reality, most of the babies were born in villages over 30 miles away. Even if babies are born underweight and the mother can take them to the hospital - the likelihood of them staying for the optimal time required (sometimes weeks) is unlikely.
With this new found insight the group reframed the problem to being ‘How might we create a baby warming device that helps parents in remote villages give their dying infants a chance to survive?’ Long story short, the outcome is a little sleeping bag that keeps babies warm.
This was a 20 week class project that the team decided to continue working on after they had finished school. Embrace Innovations now has 90 employees and has saved thousands of babies' lives. How amazing. This book is full of inspiring stories like this. It all boils down to having the confidence to act on your ideas. This book has some super helpful tips and I’ve already bought 3 other books that were referenced in the text for future reading.
Creative confidence is like a muscle - it can be strengthened and nurtured through effort and experience.