Making creativity and innovation happen
Making creativity and innovation happen

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3 Enhancing your creative confidence

Creative confidence: having the freedom and courage to fail/take creative risks and the knowledge that all of the ideas you create have value.

(Grossman-Kahn, 2013)

It is one thing to recognise that everyone has the potential to be creative… it is another thing altogether to have the confidence to unleash that creativity and allow yourself to find your ultimate creative expression. While training and the knowledge of skills and techniques are important, by themselves they are not enough. For creativity to emerge it is critical that you have the necessary confidence in your own creative capacity.

Tom and David Kelley, brothers and pivotal figures in the renowned design and innovation company IDEO, argue that:

Most people are born creative. As children, we revel in imaginary play, ask outlandish questions, draw blobs and call them dinosaurs. But over time, because of socialization and formal education, a lot of us start to stifle those impulses. We learn to be warier of judgment, more cautious, more analytical. The world seems to divide into ‘creatives’ and ‘noncreatives,’ and too many people consciously or unconsciously resign themselves to the latter category.

(Kelley and Kelley, 2012, p.115)
Figure 6 Tom Kelley and David Kelley

A key problem, Tom and David Kelley assert, is that people can be held back by fear in different forms:

  • fear of the unknown
  • fear of being judged
  • fear of the first step
  • fear of losing control.

In order to be more creative, the challenge is to overcome those fears and become more confident in your own creativity.

Activity 4 What is creative confidence?

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Watch this video of Tom Kelley from IDEO discuss the concept of creative confidence and why it is important. As you are watching, reflect on your own creative confidence and how it might be developed.

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In order to be creative you must have confidence – but not just any confidence, creative confidence! Tom Kelley makes a strong argument for everyone to recognise and develop their own creative confidence. Doing so might just be the difference between (creative) success and failure.

So how might you enhance your creative confidence? A key is to address those fears that might be holding you back. If you are able to understand and overcome those, you are well on the way to creative success

Next you will consider the idea of assumptions and how they can, if not challenged, sometimes stifle creativity.

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