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Building your creative confidence

In the beginning of this month, design thinking guru, also the founder of one of the most successful design consultancies in the world, David Kelley published his new book, Creative Confidence, co-written by his brother Tom Kelly. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to read the book yet, but I would like to share my insights from their talks about their new book.


One of the things that Kelley Brothers emphasize over and over is that creativity is something everyone is born with. Most of the time being creative is associated with being artistic and talented. Well… this is simply wrong. Everyone who got into drawing or painting at some point of their lives would know that it has very little to do with bare talent.  What it takes to be a good drawer to practice, to get that muscle memory improved and to get into the habit of doing it over and over again. So in order to build your creative confidence the first thing to keep in mind is that being creative is NOT equal being artistic. Everyone can unleash their creative sides, it is all a matter of knowing how to.


There is a slogan used in Autodesk called “Fail fast forward.”  In order to create something better, we shouldn’t be afraid of failing.  Rather contrary, we should “Desensitize ourselves to the idea of failing” as Kelly brothers put it. They have one recommendation though; do not fail at the end. Even if your idea seems like the silliest thing, do not be afraid of saying it out loud and being judged, because it will spark a better idea in your teammate’s brain. You will build on each other’s ideas and keep improving. This is how silly ideas turn into really good ideas.


Don’t create something just because you can, especially if it is a new technology. First, define the problem, then adjust your solution so it becomes the answer to your problem. I believe this is something our generation of entrepreneurs struggles quite often. We forget to ask the question “So What.” If someone asks you to design a toaster, don’t start thinking about a toaster. Start thinking about warming bread. Just by doing that, you would widen your scope of better solutions.


In today’s world of so many business types, we have no choice but to accept that we are all creative. We should all be creative. In order to differentiate yourself, your brand or your product you should take the risk and do the thing that is not done before. Kelley says the hardest people to convince when it comes to creativity are the leaders. One thing they say to those is “ Let’s try this out, if it doesn’t work we’ll go back to the way it was.”  So today, the only option to get a business out of trouble is to design your way out of the problem.

For anyone who would like to listen to Kelley Brother’s talk about the book, check out this link:


Image source: Flickr

Yasemin Uyar

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