Creative Confidence is a book by brothers Tom Kelly and David Kelley of IDEO. And that’s only to tell you what the book is called and who the authors are. The title barely begins to describe what the book did for me.
Disclaimer : I am an unabashed & old fan of IDEO. I see little, if anything, to criticize or find fault with anything that IDEO does or says. By extension, I am a fan of everyone who works there, and by further extension, I had already decided to love this book even before it was out. I’ve written about IDEO & my history with them earlier on this blog.
From the book’s website, “Too often, companies and individuals assume that creativity and innovation are the domain of the “creative types.” But two of the leading experts in innovation, design, and creativity on the planet show us that each and every one of us is creative. In an incredibly entertaining and inspiring narrative that draws on countless stories from their work at IDEO and with many of the world’s top companies…”
I read the book in three days – the fastest I’ve read a non-fiction book. Ever. And I was taking notes on the side – when I had a pen & paper close by, I wrote, when I didn’t, I tweeted. And when I found something too long to make a note of, I stuck Post-Its on the pages of the book.
The book is a reminder for me. And just when I need it. It doesn’t tell me anything new / anything I didn’t already know. And I understand that might not be the case with everyone – many readers will find a lot of “new” in the book – but I’ve always had a streak for trying out crazy things and understand the fundamental baseline that Tom & David have written the book from.
And like their dedication of the book to their parents, I owe a large deal of my creative confidence to my parents as well. My father for always encouraging no matter what and my mother for never missing a chance to tell me I was being a fool. Both drove me incessantly forward in my quest to be the whole person I knew I had the potential to be. ( I’m not saying I’m there yet – the journey is life long I’m happy to report! )
It’s a beautiful-looking book. The paper is just splendid! No really – I’m not one to wax lyrical about the quality of paper in a book because normally it’s just standard stuff – but with this book, they did go overboard with the paper it’s printed on. Even my Dad remarked, “Wow. Nice paper.” We’re both stationery-fiends so we notice these things rather diligently.
Just to clarify, the colorful sticky tabs you see on the side of the book? Those are mine – they did not come with the book. Fittingly enough, all Post-It tabs.
Each chapter starts with a colorful illustration that captures the essence of that particular chapter.
This, above, was one of the things that I remember from the book clearly. Finding the sweet spot of feasibility, viability and desirability. So simple!
The section below reminded me of the red pill or blue pill question from The Matrix movies.
Everyone can draw! Stick figures FTW.
Some of the notes I made in my Moleskine. *Excerpts*
Take more shots at the goal. That is the surprising, compelling mathematics of innovation : if you want more success, you have to be prepared to shrug off more failure.”
Tradition of learning from enlightened trial and error. ( Page 42 )
( Totally made me want to find out more about an internship at IDEO or a workshop at the Stanford d.school )
Each preferred to sit in his chair rather than risk being critiqued by his peers. ( Page 62 )
The biggest hurdle is going down the slide that first time. ( Page 64 )
( Reminded me of my first – and only, so far – skydive. It took all I had. And the moment I touched the ground, I wanted to do it again! But it’s been more than two years now – a big gap – so, predictably, I’m going to be scared again. LESSON : keep doing it and often. )
Create an eclectic portfolio of short and long-term ideas, with varying potential for risk and reward. ( Page 80 )
We’ve found that figuring out what other people actually need is what leads to the most significant innovations. ( Page 85 )
Empathy means challenging your preconceived ideas and setting aside your sense of what you think is true in order to learn what actually is true. ( Page 90 )
When you spot a contradiction between what you see and what you expect, it is a sign that you should dig deeper. ( Page 91 )
As a photographer, I can see myself going over the section above. I provide a service to my clients and I need to up my game constantly so they may derive maximum value from them.
This above? I’m going to be using that to add more color to my workspace. The layout is quite fixed but there’s so much I could do with the walls. I already have a whiteboard and a supply of Post-Its to last a lifetime. I really need to do more quick prototyping for my shoots.
Well lookie here! They recommend mindmaps! I love mindmaps! But looking at the example they have shared, I can improve my mindmapping-game so much more!
They’ve shared a bunch of Creativity Challenges and there’s something for everyone. I intend to try them one at a time.
As you can hopefully tell by now, this book is not an instructional step-by-step manual on how to be more creative or how to up your creative confidence. It’s more a narrative of how Tom and David see the world. It is an entertaining read with nuggets of gold as you progress from page to page – you can already see all those colorful Post-It tabs I managed to stick!
Oh look! There’s something different about the book jacket! Small touches like these always excite me! And this is the first edition of the book – so it comes with this custom-designer book jacket – and I found this out only after I’d finished reading.
I signed up for OpenIDEO. I’m not sure what I’m going to do or how I’m going to find the time but now that I’ve signed up, I can find out.
I am planning to take the 90 minute virtual crash course in Design Thinking at the Stanford d.school. Probably over a weekend in November. After I’ve done that, I’m going to evaluate whether I might actually consider signing up for a real course at the d.school by being present there physically. I know I would like to but finding the resources to do that will take some thought.
I am no longer a wedding photographer as it wasn’t fulfilling my soul and I was not being my true creative self. I had been considering shutting down that side of the “business” for a while but reading Creative Confidence ( and the #EyesForLondon trip ) helped me drive in the final nail in the coffin and it’s bye-bye wedding photography! So excited.
I’m posting all the tweets I did while I was reading the book. There’s quite a few so scroll patiently.
And that’s me! With the book jacket all opened up. Check out that smile on my face! I LOVED the book!
The book is already an NYTimes best-seller! Thank you IDEO for sending me a copy of the book!