Reclaim Your Creative Confidence and Fear of the Messy Unknown

Messy-OfficeIn this new series on Reclaiming Your Creative Confidence, I’m recapping ideas presented in HBR (12/12) by Tom Kelley and David Kelley (see my previous post for a full reference). The authors suggest that four fears most commonly block people from exploring creative ideas in the work place, with “fear of the messy unknown” at the top of the list.

I agree wholeheartedly, which is why Intertech routinely has brainstorming sessions with our team. Our goal is focused: finding creative solutions to problems that have been clearly defined.

But how? We’ve found that being creative in problem solving involves creating an environment where people can generate ideas without fear of criticism. In our sessions we call this “green light thinking,” which means no idea is a bad idea. We want to generate as many ideas as possible.

Sometimes the zany ideas lead to the best ideas! Kelley and Kelley (K&K) note that “creative thinking in business begins with having empathy for your customers” and they urge managers and executives alike to get out and talk with customers. From listening to customers in online chat rooms to meeting them in their own environments, nothing beats getting into “the mess” of real life and real problems. As consultants and software instructors, Intertech interacts with our customers every day. We’re in the trenches helping solve problems and working with teams to reach goals.

Getting into our customers’ home turf definitely gives us empathy for the challenges and opportunities they face. We step into the unknown together – bringing experience, knowledge and confidence — and the outcome can be amazing.

Next post: Fear of Being Judged