Are YOU creative?Posted by emma in blog August 7, 2012
If you are human and have a heartbeat then the answer is most definitely YES.
“Innovators aren’t exceptional as much as they are confident”, says David Kelley, who has made it his life’s work to get people to regain their creative confidence. For those of us whose workplaces or schools are divided into creative versus practical people, his TED talk from March this year makes for interesting viewing.
According to Kelley, opting out of creativity occurs in childhood. A cruel remark from a classmate or critical comment from a teacher regarding a clumsy yet ‘interpretative’ clay model of your pet cat can result in you throwing it in the bin, never to pick up ceramics again. Worse still this behaviour becomes more ingrained as you become an adult.
As Kelley describes in his talk, I too have seen many of my clients recoil back into their chairs or nip off for a coffee when we ask them to draw, brainstorm or suggest ideas as part of our co-creative working sessions at the Futerra house, assuring me as they make for a quick exit that they are not the “creative type”.
David’s talk makes the case for breaking down this creative/non-creative separation. Creativity is universal, what’s missing is the confidence to let your ideas flow (knocked out of you when you were 8 years old apparently).
Re-learning and replenishing your creative confidence (if you feel it’s gone astray) is important. This calls to mind the tale of Doug Dietz – analyst, “technical guy” and designer of medical equipment. Dietz, uncomfortable that almost 80% of children had to be sedated in order to have an MRI scan, decided to redesign the MRI experience for his pediatric patients. By painting the MRI equipment and treatment room as a Pirate ship and hiring children’s actors, Dietz created an authentic, relaxing and fun experience that led to a 60% reduction in the number of young children requiring sedation before their MRI scans.
So how do you re-learn creative confidence? And what can businesses, organisations and agencies learn from this?
One of the ways to replenish creative confidence is to learn ‘by doing’ through a process of ‘guided mastery’. This term was coined by Psychologist Albert Bandura. By taking a group of ophidiophobes (people with a fear of snakes) through a series of small steps where they got closer and closer to a snake, he used these small successes to turn their fear into familiarity, and eventually they were able to touch and hold the animal. If we apply this experience to creativity, hands on experience and trial and error can be used to make people more confident in coming up with new ideas, just like Dietz.
In his concluding remarks, Kelley argues that creative and non-creative types should not be divided in any domain. This is an interesting and inspiring position, but does seem at odds with the organisational structure of most creative agencies. The same can be said of typical agency and client relationships, where the client is labeled non-creative and the agency creative. David’s TED talk raises an important question for individuals, agencies and commissioning clients alike:
How do we create workplaces, relationships and teams that unleash and foster creative confidence within existing organisational structures?
The concept of creative confidence in relation to innovation is an important one, as is the recognition of the universal creativity that we all possess and the need to build resilience in the face of failure through trial, error, success, failure and prototyping.
Watch David Kelley’s TED talk in full here
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August 08, 2012
I really agree. One of the saddest things is when people tell you they’re ‘not creative’.
Have you seen Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED video about creative genius? It’s all about people ‘having’ creativity, not ‘being’ a creative (or not).
It’s another good approach to breaking down the barriers and welcoming everyone’s ideas and creativity.