Boost Your Creative Confidence
David Kelley has many titles: design thinker, writer, engineer, professor and co-founder of IDEO. IDEO is responsible for such things as creating the first mouse for Apple and the thumbs up/thumbs down button on the TIVO remote. But David’s proudest work is helping people unlock their creative confidence. He wrote a fascinating book with his brother: Creative Confidence Unleashing The Creative Potential Within Us All.
“Belief in your creative capacity lies at the heart of innovation.” –David Kelley
Has Someone Killed Your Creative Gene?
Kelley shares a story that had a big impact on him when he was only in the third grade. His friend was working on a clay horse. A passing comment from a fellow student caused him to quit and roll up the horse in to a ball. That single comment stopped this student’s creativity in its tracks. When Kelley shares this story, he inevitably gets a ton of people sharing various memories of similar experiences. Many of us have a debilitating fear of judgment.
Kelley tells of his visit with Albert Bandura, a social psychologist, and their discussion with Bandura’s work with phobias. Bandura has developed a methodology that cures people very quickly. Within hours people with a snake phobia actually touch one by the end of the session. By conquering this fear of snakes, they birth a new sense of confidence and have less anxiety about other things in their lives.
Using this model, Kelley decided to take the fear of being creative and use the same techniques to boost creativity.
“Striving for perfection can get in the way during the early stages of the creative process.” –David Kelley
A Lesson in Creativity: Rethinking the Why
Kelley tells the compelling story of Doug Dietz. Dietz was proud of the medical imaging equipment he developed. One day, he arrived to find his MRI machine in use and a little girl absolutely terrified. Apparently, 80% of pediatric patients have to be sedated just to go through an MRI. Dietz, once proud of his machine, now hated it because of the fear it caused in kids.
I’m often struck by the “why” behind an invention. The MRI worked as designed. Scientifically, it provided all of the data necessary for medical professionals to analyze.
But when Dietz saw the scared child, his why changed. Now his purpose shifted from the medical professional to the kids.
He ended up redesigning the MRI, transforming it into a fantastical experience just for kids. It is called, “Pirate Island” and it resembles a ship. They are told about the noise and the movement of the pirate ship. The kids are then told how they can’t move while they are on the ship so the pirates won’t find them. The results were nothing less than dramatic. The 80% sedation number went down to 10%. Dietz was with one of the mothers when her little girl came out and asked her mom if she could come back tomorrow. Kelley said that Dietz has told that story many times and never without tearing up.
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Wake Up Your Creative Gene
Creative genius is available to all. Kelley’s work shows that everyone is naturally creative. The world is not divided between the creatives and everyone else. David Kelley encourages all of us to unleash our creative confidence.
“The first step toward a great answer is to reframe the question.” –Tom Kelley
Creative Confidence Unleashing The Creative Potential Within Us All