“You are not creative.”
“You cannot do that.”
As we grow up, we start to hear about restrictions. People begin to give us “feedback” about our actions, projects and skills. And based on that feedback, we hold back.
We do not take chances to be creative as adults because
a) people tell us our stuff is bad
b) people tell us to be professional and non-offensive
c) we do not think it is possible to be creative in our fields or
d) all of the above.
Guess what? That negative self-talk is wrong. I do not care who told you that in the past – you have the capability of being a creative person. Let’s talk about how you can make that happen.
The book Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential in All of Us*, by brothers David and Tom Kelley, shows you how you can become more creative in your daily life. Not only is the book incredibly insightful, but there are also TONS of free resources out there to continue the learning after you turn the last page. My main takeaway? We can all think more like creative entrepreneurs, no matter what job titles we have.
In case you have not read the book yet, you can read a summary on their website.
There are dozens of strategies in the book, but here are my five favorite ways to develop creativity in your career.
- You are not born creative – you are conditioned to be creative. This means you can condition yourself to be more creative. Get in that mindset. Ban the phrase, “I am not creative” from your vocabulary FOREVER.
- Experience the world. Make it a habit to put yourself in new situations and environments when you are working on important projects. This opens your mind and fuels your creativity.
- Empathize with your end user. Do not just “research” your target audience; go out and experience their lives beside them. Put yourself in their shoes so you can truly see their needs and obstacles.
- Surround yourself with other creative people. If you are the average of your social group, then be sure you have some of the most ambitious, creative people in that network.
- Fail fast. Instead of trying to plan and prepare to make your project perfect, spend that time testing it and gathering feedback as soon as possible. You must get rid of the fear of failing; embrace failure.
One of the authors, David Kelley, has given a TedTalk on this topic. Check it out to get a taste of the stories you will hear in the book.
Although mindset is important, the best way to really develop yourself as a creative person is to practice, practice, practice. The Kelley brothers and others have provided ways to unleash your creativity and develop it, and you can work on it with the resources below!
Take it a step further by taking your team through these exercises!
- This Harvard Business Review article highlights the main points of the book.
- David Kelley talks about how to design breakthrough innovations on 60 Minutes.
- Get more background and case studies for design thinking in the Design Kit.
MORE INTENSE TRAINING
- Only have 90 minutes? Participate in the Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking! Whether by yourself or leading your organization, you can gain real-life experience real fast in design thinking.
- Another 90-minute option: Design Project Zero. This quick and dirty activity can lead a team through the entire design thinking process to bring the concepts to life.
- If you are an educator or train others in your profession, consider the free Design Thinking Toolkit. It gives you two large workbooks to walk through the steps of design thinking!
- Want projects to go out and practice design thinking? Try out the d.school Bootcamp Bootleg. It compiles projects that walk through all of the steps of design thinking.
- Do you or your team have a specific problem in mind? Use a Design Thinking Mixtape to walk through possible solutions to find the best one(s)!
Are you working on advancing your career? Be sure to sign up for our free resource library, which has a career development planner, productivity resources and portfolio builders!
*This article contains an affiliate link for the book, Creative Confidence! As a bookworm, I only recommend books I really enjoyed reading. I hope you enjoy them, to0!