Reads: Creative Confidence

2015.6.22ReadsI don’t just read books, I decorate with them too

Saying I love to read is an understatement. As long as I can remember I had a book in my hand: at family gatherings I could be found on the sofa, head buried between the pages; out fishing with my dad, I would be in the cabin or sunning on the bow with a book; I have spent more than one afternoon starting and finishing a book too good to put down. My books are also quite varied and span young adult, adult, fiction, nonfiction, mystery, sci-fi, girly, etc. I also love inspirational and instructional books that inspire a new way of thinking or doing business (or even just life). To that end, I wanted to start a blog category called Reads. A new post will come up whenever I have finished my most recent book and feel like it’s something I want to share or that will inspire others. Please chime in on this series! I would love to know if you have read a certain book, what you thought and even suggestions for future titles. So, without further ado – my first book!


7_Creative_Confidence_book10603Photo cred: via Creative Confidence website

Creative Confidence by Tom Kelly and David Kelly is based on the premise that we are ALL creative and in this book they outline a series of steps  and methods to help you break into your creativity. Tom and David (brothers that both now work at IDEO, a design and innovation consulting firm) present this information in eight, easy to read chapters that are filled with real life stories and Pinterest-able quotes but don’t let that fool you. Their ideas have been proven to work and they really, quite easy to do.

Creativity is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status. – Sir Ken Robinson

Chapter 1 presents us with the idea of “design thinking” – a different way of approaching problems that takes into account rapid experimentation (“prototyping”) and human interaction (i.e. understanding the human side business) and weights them all equally. They believe that ideas should be both functional and emotionally meaningful.

You can achieve audacious goals if you have the courage and perseverance to pursue them. – Tom Kelly and David Kelly, Creative Confidence

Chapter 2 encourages you to give up your fear of failure, take more shots at the goal, build your creative confidence through a series of small successes, let go of comparison and grab on to “urgent optimism”: the desire to act immediately to tackle an obstacle, motivated by the belief that you have a reasonable hope of success.”

Creativity is always in hindsight…[it’s] trying and failing at a hundred other solutions before arriving at the best one” – Ankit, a d.school student

Chapter 3 focuses on finding the “creative spark” and that to do so, quantity matters. So often, we focus on creating that perfect, quality driven product before putting it out into the world when we should be focused on getting as many versions out there as possible and then modifying it as we go along.

Normalcy is overrated. If you tap into your natural creativity you have a chance to be extraordinary. – Tom Kelly and David Kelly, Creative Confidence

Chapter 4 might have been my favorite chapter as it talks about the “PULSE mindset” – a “do something” mindset that: isn’t content with the status quo; minimizes planning and maximizes action; creates easily testable prototypes (making small changes that were mentioned in Chapter 3); and thriving when forced under pressure. The culmination of this chapter is the theory that to do something, you have to at least do one small thing to get started. That one action of starting will create momentum, but you have to move from ideas and planning to doing.

Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda

Chapter 5 was all about figuring out YOU – what makes you tick, what makes you feel passion, and how can you translate that into your every day life. Work shouldn’t be work (we all know this right?), it should be, or hopefully can be, something we are passionate about. But I liked that they didn’t chalk success up to passion – you have to also have the perseverance to follow through.

Passion doesn’t preclude effort. In fact, passion demands effort. -Tom Kelly and David Kelly, Creative Confidence

Chapter 6 reinforces the tenets of creative thinking by emphasizing certain questions: does a product create positive emotions? is it fun? does it go beyond customer expectations? It also hits home the idea that when you disagree with someone or maybe just hate their idea – that you are supportive and thinking of reframing the question in a positive way. Example: Like/Wish – saying, “I like that idea…” “I wish that we could do this with the idea…”

Bird by bird… the philosophy that to reach a creative breakthrough, you just need to start and take it step by step. – Tom Kelly and David Kelly, Creative Confidence

Chapter 7 is full of actual, practical exercises that you can do to stretch your creative muscles (Like/Wish from above is in this chapter) and they offered ideas for both individuals and groups.

Staying the same or even moving forward is not enough. Those that thrive are the ones that initiate action. – Tom Kelly and David Kelly, Creative Confidence

Chapter 8 is their summary that reminds you to embrace a bias towards action, to set a creative goal and to surround yourself with a supportive network.

My Summary – everyone is creative! Creativity can be learned, but it must be practiced and practiced often.

Should you read this book? Yes, if you like inspirational and self-help type, business betterment books.

These are my takeaways from the book and not intended to be a literal version of what was written.

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