Reclaim Your Creative Confidence

Creative-VictoryIf you’re reading my blog, I’m guessing you are a business leader, a software professional, or both. You probably majored in business, technology or computer science. And, if you’re like most of us in these types of fields, you don’t consider yourself “creative.” The creative types (or, simply, “creatives”) are those slightly off-beat people in the organization who write marketing copy, develop advertising or create the creative packaging for your products or services.

But a provocative article in the December issue of Harvard Business Review (HBR), “Reclaim Your Creative Confidence” presents a vastly different way of thinking about – and cultivating – creativity in the workplace.

“The world seems to divide into ‘creatives’ and ‘noncreatives,’ and too many people consciously or unconsciously resign themselves to the latter category. And yet we know that creativity is essential in any discipline or industry. According to a recent IBM survey of chief executives around the world, it’s the most sought-after trait in leaders today,” write authors Tom Kelley and David Kelley.

What makes their article particularly interesting to me is their sensible plan for overcoming the four most common creativity blockers: (1) fear of the messy unknown, (2) fear of being judged, (3) fear of the first step and (4) fear of losing control.

Tom Kelley and David Kelley (who do not mention if they are related) bring academic and real-world experience to this topic. Tom is the general manager of IDEO, a design and innovation consultancy, and the author of The Ten Faces of Innovation (Currency/Doubleday, 2005). He is an executive fellow at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and the University of Toyko. David is the founder and chairman of IDEO and the founder of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, where he is the Donald W. Whittier Professor in Mechanical Engineering.

In my next series of posts, I will share their recommendations – and some of my own – for rediscovering creative confidence within your self and fostering it in the people you work with or lead.