Next #TLYReads #CreativeConfidence (Ch 8)

Reading through the final chapter – the Kelley Brothers give an entire overview of the book (which kind of made me think of the book as a textbook!).  The following is my conclusion of the book.

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Some of my favourite topics in the book include:

  • Normalcy is overrated
  • Empathizing with the end user is key
  • The story of the engineers (Ankit and Akshay) who developed a very successful iPad app using d.school methodologies of rapid prototyping and feedback/testing cycles
  • Knowing that having to deal with “your fear” is part of your #CreativeConfidence journey
  • Start with an easy win when it comes to checking off your creative goals
  • Surround yourself with a creative community
  • Be a continous learner (take a class, listening a Ted talk, watch a lesson on Khan Academy)
  • Use extracurricular activities as an opportunity to flex your creative muscle (whether that time is your lunch break, weekends or after the kids go to sleep!)

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Overall, this book left a great impression on me especially as I feel that I am on my creative confidence journey and many of my own experiences were described within the book.

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This book is a great read for entrepreneurs, C level employees and millennial students/new joiners to the workforce as these groups of people have strong opinions about the direction of their company/work and usually want to make a greater impact on the world.  I would recommend this book to someone who feels they are not creative – but believes that the power of creativity can transform one’s task, career and or business.

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If you are just joining my review and lessons learned on the book Creative Confidence be sure to follow along on my Pinterest board for useful links such as Ted Talks, infographics and articles.  Also you can check out my twitter storify for up to date details as I read the book.

Move #TLYReads #CreativeConfidence (Ch 7)

Chapter 7 was all about revving up my creative thinking and working on my creative confidence.  The chapter offers several exercises (both for individuals and groups) where you can practice being creative.

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Thru Les Yeux – Mind Map

That is the key word – PRACTICE.  Creative thinking/Being Creative takes practice.  And doing exercises that encourage divergent and unconventional thinking encourage idea generation.

I decided to do that Mind Map and 30 Circle exercise.

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30 Circles (mini exercise)

So how did I do?

For my first try I did OK. I definitely think with practice I will get better.  That said both the Mind Map and (mini) 30 Circle exercise were difficult!!!  Especially the 30 circles.  I definitely felt a “fear” as described by the Kelley Brothers back in the Dare chapter.  Although I knew this was just an exercise – I knew I would be posting my results in this blog post.  I didn’t want to copy what I saw in the book.  I wanted to draw something remotely creative.  Am I going to be judged for what I draw (eek!)  

I think I will try this exercise again on the weekend and maybe get the Hubz to do it also.  I think it would also make a great ice breaker / team building exercises (as long as people don’t feel judged).

The mind map exercise were also more challenging than I expected.  Again I will probably need to try it again and also focus on one branch to get into the more “out of box” ideas for my brand.

…On to the last chapter!

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If you are just joining my review and lessons learned on the book Creative Confidence be sure to follow along on my Pinterest board for useful links such as Ted Talks, infographics and articles.  Also you can check out my twitter storify for up to date details as I read the book.

Team #TLYReads #CreativeConfidence (Ch 6)

This chapter touched upon an important topic for creative confidence in corporations.  That is: how to build creatively confident teams.

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I’ve been in two organizations where there was a need to think creatively to come up with a new solution.  In one case, the company’s project had great intentions of bringing innovators and collaborators together, but it ended abruptly as the money ran out and the organization faced tough public issues. Hence, the innovation project was put on the back burner.  It would have been great to see how leaders from the d.school and IDEO would have handled such a situation and keep the momentum going for the creative confidence. The other organization is taking a slower approach but one that seems to be working well without causing too much financial stress.  Although it will be interesting to see how the use of iterations or prototyping in the future.

The chapter teaches us that creatively confident groups are needed to achieve innovation at scale.  If an organization needs to innovate then they most likely need to #DesignForDelight which entails:

  1. Going beyond customer expectations in delivering ease/benefit
  2. Ensuring customers buy more (of the organizations product or service)
  3. Having those same customers tell others about their experience

Following these points will not only ensure that an organization is innovating but that the employees are engaged and the company continues to grow.

I find that this is particularly true statement as when I was part of the organization that desired to reach these standards employees were more happy and the public opinion about the company was high.

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But, most organizations do not believe they are creatively confident according to Kelley Brothers.  Organizations go through the following phases before realizing they are well on their creative journey:

  1. Organizations say and believe that they are “not creative”
  2. When innovation starts to take flight, managers only pay it lip service (talking phase)
  3. When a manager finally sees the value and puts resources towards it (leap of faith)
  4. Quest of confidence (top down approval to move in this direction)
  5. When the organization builds creative confidence into their DNA (holistic awareness & integration)

So its obvious that managers or a top down approach is really required for organizations to reach their creative confidence goals.

Managers can strengthen their teams by ensuring team members have a vested ownership in the task, can speak openly in spirited debates, believe in the challenge or mission statement set out by the manager for the teams goals.

And for the employees?  Belonging to a strong creative team can be one of the most rewarding aspects of working life!

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If you are just joining my review and lessons learned on the book Creative Confidence be sure to follow along on my Pinterest board for useful links such as Ted Talks, infographics and articles.  Also you can check out my twitter storify for up to date details as I read the book.

Seek #TLYReads #CreativeConfidence (Ch 5)

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I really enjoyed reading chapter 5 mainly because it is a topic that I am constantly thinking / debating about in my head.  The chapter essentially talks about whether the work we do and the financial gains from that work are in balance.

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A simple idea that has such a great meaning in our lives.  I often discuss this topic with the Hubz and we come to the conclusion that the previous generation may have been okay with the scales being tipped in the direction of the dollar sign but its definitely a topic that I think a lot of millennials grapple with these days.

Being on the cusp of the generational years I definitely can see both sides.  But for the most part I want to know that the work that I am doing (such as in my personal business endeavours) or the company I am working for is making a difference in the world or provides back to humanity.  For the latter, I really value when a company is heavily involved with corporate citizenship initiatives and encourages employees to participate and volunteer in their community.

The Kelley brothers clearly state that its much easier to measure money and that it takes extra effort to measure the value of the heart.  And more importantly after a certain point money does not correlate to happiness.  For example: a powerful position with a notable organization may be a “looks good, feels bad” trap.  The money is probably good, but you might end up working longer hours and on project or tasks that don’t feed your soul.  The brothers explain we should avoid a career that makes us feel unhappy and find the right fit in terms of your own interests, skills and values.

An interesting study is discussed where a professor from Yale states that people have three distinct attitude towards the work they do: they either think of it as a job, a career or a calling.

  • People who think of their job as a career focus on promotions, a larger office and higher salary.  These people are focused on checking off certain achievements rather than finding deeper meaning in their work.
  • People who think of their work as a calling are find that what they do in their professional work fulfill them personally because.  Their work is meaningful because they are contributing to a larger purpose.

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Another important point for me in this chapter is how we should experiment with side projects to find our passion.  I couldn’t agree with this more.  I wake up thinking about my side projects (writing, photography, being creative, dreaming big and planning goals) and think about it throughout the day and come home wanting to work on my side projects.  The chapter says that a great way to find what activities resonate with you is by trying many different projects.  I know this is something I do personally but need to start doing professionally.  In my line of work I can do this by taking on mini training sessions, document something I’ve just learned, lead a group of colleagues through a new task etc. This is a great way to “start writing the new story of your working life!”

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If you are just joining my review and lessons learned on the book Creative Confidence be sure to follow along on my Pinterest board for useful links such as Ted Talks, infographics and articles.  Also you can check out my twitter storify for up to date details as I read the book.

Leap #TLYReads #CreativeConfidence (Ch 4)

For me chapter 4 gave me some really key tips to in how to increase my creativity and more importantly why action and iteration are very important to our (my) #CreativeConfidence journey.  That said I really struggled with believe these lessons could be brought into my #9to5 simply due to the type of work environment I operate in.  Overall it was a great chapter and really got me thinking.

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The chapter starts by discussing how to two “geeky engineers” attend Stanford and decide to enrol in the university’s d.school.  They find it to be very different than their technical programming and engineering classes, somewhat intimidating but eventually stimulating as it aids in their programming and engineering design.  I personally feel that I am somewhere between intimidated and stimulated within my personal creative journey.  Sadly, from a professional/career standpoint I do not work in an #agile environment where #designthinking is encouraged.

The students eventually start working on a project that is due in 10 weeks.  From their experience we learn why being successful in innovation/creativity requires action and iteration.  Additionally here are some lessons that they were able to utilize during their project to reach their success.

  • have a “do something” mindset
  • stop planning and start acting
  • thrive in your creativity (in spite of time)
  • do something to learn

These are great teachings, but often easier said then done.  When I think about my professional life – bureaucratic red tape, regulations and SLAs guided by stakeholders to do not really allow for this type of innovation and creativity.  Do Canadian Corporations need to give employees more leeway to allow for #DesignThinking?  I DEFINITELY think so.  Although there is a desire to #disrupt in my organization – it all comes at a risk.

Chapter 5 also talks about two great examples of large companies who Learn to Launch and Recast changes as ExperimentsIt shows that great organizations and leaders in design have to really be OK with thriving in creativity and in the case of New Zealand Air – reaching out to get help (from IDEO in this example) when they want to innovate.

The last few tips that I think I can start using immediately both in my creative and my professional life without causing too much commotion would be:

  • used forced time constraints (ex: if I am working on something that I know isn’t necessarily due in the near future I’ll make myself come up with a deadline for fuel my creativity and my ability to produce)
  • Use post it notes (ex: for storyboarding ideas, training, documentation or a solution to a problem – my coworkers may think I am crazy though lol)
  • get more feedback (ex: ask my coworkers what they think of my prototype, without distracting them from their own work of course)
  • faster iterations of product design (ex: QA test development faster to allow for more chances to find bugs and to allow for more iterations of testing cycles).

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If you are just joining my review and lessons learned on the book Creative Confidence be sure to follow along on my Pinterest board for useful links such as Ted Talks, infographics and articles.  Also you can check out my twitter storify for up to date details as I read the book.

Spark #TLYReads #CreativeConfidence (Ch 3)

I am a little behind on my readings for the past two weeks but really glad I got caught up.  This chapter continues to focus on how to cultivate your creativity and also takes a deeper dive into emphasizing with your customers/end users and how to effectively do this.

The authors advise that we should adopt the eyes of a traveller and a beginners mindset.  They suggest this because they believe most people are so habitual in their tasks that they cannot fully connect to their customers because they do not notice the environment that their customers operate in.

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Photo taken at San Diego County Fair

Noticing things allows us to be more open to inspiration and ideas.  Another great way to cultivate the notion of being open to ideas is by having a community chalkboard in a public space (ex: hallway leading to the restrooms at the office).   I also think this is a great idea for the home especially with kids or young adults to strengthen their #CreativeConfidence.

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Some tips on how to create a community chalkboard

I always love a good reminder on how to keep the ideas flowing, here are some pointers from the Kelley brothers:

  • Take a class
  • Read unusual blogs or magazines
  • Listen to a new kind of music
  • Take a different route to work
  • Listen to a Ted Talk
  • Share new ideas or follow a community that shares cool news
  • Daydream!

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PHOTO TAKEN AT SAN DIEGO Children’s museum

The Kelley brothers explain that people who are constantly creative are just people who notice things in the routine and allow themselves the time to build their #CreativeConfidence.  One point that I particular connected with is that often times, creatives / makers get stuck for ideas.  The brother’s explain that by allowing ourselves to keep an open mind about a quirky idea we can bring about our next business opportunity.

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PHOTO TAKEN AT Palm Spring’s Living Desert zoo

An important topic of this chapter is empathizing with your end user.  I personally really appreciated the example of a the western medicine surgeon who chose the path of anthropologist to empathize with her energy healer patient.

We can do things like reframing the question aka #QuestionZero.  This is especially important when we are in a hurry to get the answer – reframing the question is time well spent.

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PHOTO TAKEN AT SAN DIEGO CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

Lastly the chapter ends by talking about building a Creative Support Network.  It can be as easy as an online community of like minded people or a group that you meet weekly for brunch.  In either case it’s a valuable give-and-take of ideas, inspiration and support.

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If you are just joining my review and lessons learned on the book Creative Confidence be sure to follow along on my Pinterest board for useful links such as Ted Talks, infographics and articles.  Also you can check out my twitter storify for up to date details as I read the book.