We don’t always think of creativity as being essential to leadership success, yet a recent IBM survey of more than 1,500 CEOs reports that it has become the single most important competency in organizations today. Creative Confidence is an insightful book that shows any leader how to unleash their creative potential.
And there are only a few people in the world that know more about the creative process—the ability to produce something new in the world—than the Kelley brothers. David is a founder of IDEO, one of the most influential design and innovation firms in the world and head of Stanford University’s design school. Tom is general manager of IDEO. If you are not familiar with IDEO, you are certainly familiar with its impact on the world around us: IDEO invented Apple’s first mouse and the Pringle potato chip, has won more awards than any other design firm for innovation since being founded in 1991, and was the consulting firm for the THINK Prize 15.
In a book written after David was diagnosed with, and then recovered from terminal cancer, the siblings were motivated by their passion to share their greatest insights into “design thinking”. Approaching their work from an intensely human perspective is the cornerstone of their uncommon process.
“The notion of empathy and human centeredness is not widely practiced in many corporations,” the authors write. “If you do a word association with ‘business person,’ empathy doesn’t come up.” But for us, “it’s the ability to see and experience through another person’s eyes, to recognize why people do what they do. And we’ve found that figuring out what other people need is what leads to the most significant innovations.”
In Creative Confidence, the Kelley Brothers tell stories of creative confidence ranging from how an army captain was able to rally 1,700 people to petition for a pedestrian mall, to how four Stanford students-turned-entrepreneurs developed an inexpensive infant warmer that is saving thousands of babies in the developed world.
When creating any new product or system in business, the Kelleys know they must arrive at solutions that are both feasible and economically viable. But they believe their exceptional success has come from balancing these two factors with an intentional understanding of human needs. “We’re not suggesting that anyone base a career or run an organization solely on feeling, intuition and inspiration,” the authors say. “But an over-reliance on the rational and analytical can be just as risky.”
With scores of stories and insights, the Kelleys show how you can develop and apply “creative confidence”: the inner knowledge that you can create change around you and come up with breakthrough ideas.