Thursday, 17 October 2013

Design Thinking: Creative Confidence

I haven't really talked about DT in a bit, so when read about David and Tom Kelley's new book "Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential in All of Us", it really got me thinking. 

(Cover from Amazon here)

For those who have been around Design Thinking for a while, David Kelley is pretty much the 'Michael Jordan' of Design Thinking (and his brother Tom is at least his 'Scottie Pippen' or even more). Being the founder of IDEO and Stanford d.School he is at the forefront of everything DT related. However even more amazing is that his brother, Tom Kelley is also a great force at IDEO and the author of two fundamental books on Design Thinking in The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation

(David Kelly - from Stanford d.School website)
However if you listen to David Kelly talk, it shouldn't shock you. He talks about his dad and how he encouraged their family to actually figure out how things worked and actually fix things. He talks about how he works on projects with his daughter even now. 

I haven't read the book yet, but I assume it's likely along the lines of very powerful TED talk he gave in May 2012 on Creative Confidence:

I really encourage you if you haven't heard this powerful talk, to go head and spend the 11 minutes it takes to view it. I have a feeling that for many it will touch you. It doesn't matter if you're a developer or designer. I feel if you're teacher, you should be made to watch it!

In the talk, David talks about CEO types saying they are "Not the Creative Type". He places this as a "Fear of Judgement" many adults have developed. He tells us that with things like Design Thinking, if you "stick" to the process, you can learn to be creative. (My own Design Thinking coach Niels Billou always says "You got to be believe in system...believe in the process...") He states that after his cancer, his new mission is help people "regain their creative confidence". 

Here's an article from Harvard Business Review from David & Tom about Creative Confidence as well. It's a lot like the TED talk, but with some more concrete d.School examples (Pulse reader, Baby incubator, etc):
If you look at David Kelley 60 minutes interview, around 6:40, they talk about his childhood, where "...he learned the value of building with his hands...".  A great story is how he took apart the family piano, but neglected to put it back (because that was less fun).
While I don't want to go on the record as encouraging "failure", Niels would always tell me that over 80% of projects fail. A lot of people don't like to hear that. What if David's mom got upset that not every project of David or Tom's went right or got finished? What if David or Tom's crazy ideas were ridiculed, put down or discouraged? Design Thinking has always been about "Fail often to succeed sooner". It's *never* about never being able to or fear of failing

A great by-product of this interview is that David talks a little about his relationship with Steve Jobs and it humanized him a lot for me. What struck me is that David says that Steve tells him the important things in his life, his kids and focusing on the family. Kids. Not legacy, not devices, not apps.

That got me *thinking*. 

If we as Design Thinkers want to change the world, maybe we don't need to do it with 30 & 40 years olds, but maybe with 3 & 4 year-olds. For me, the lesson is that with my 2x daughters that I can help them best by making sure their 'Creative Confidence' is nurtured, blossoms and never questioned.

OH yeah. Here is blog from Metropolis that I believe has some excerpts from the new book and triggered this blog post in the first place!

Hope that helps...

Wayne Pau

p.s. Yes, if you watch the 60 mins video, it's the same SAP founder Hasso Plattner that helped David Kelley the d.School, to the tune of $35 million. I can also attest that yes, SAP is still very much committed to Design Thinking. Hasso also went on to found HPI School of Design Thinking back in Germany. He and SAP do walk-the-walk.