The Stream

Are you creative?

One of the most valuable skills for manifesting positive change in the world is creativity.  Being able to envision possible solutions to a problem — whether it’s a small improvement to a home or feeding the world — is the first step in bringing solutions to life.  But too many people feel like they simply aren’t creative.  Creativity, they think, is for artists, writers, and musicians, but for them.  We all start out life as creative people; just think back to your early years when you had no trouble drawing and play-acting with joy and complete abandon.

But somewhere along the way, many of us hit barriers that led us to believe we just didn’t have what it takes to be creative.  Maybe it was a teacher, a parent, or a peer who said, in effect, that we weren’t very good artistically or musically.  And as a result, we shut off that part of our identity, and closed off the world to the benefits of our insights and intuition.

It’s against this backdrop that Tom and David Kelley offer a way forward in their new book Creative Confidence: Unleashing the creative potential within us all.  Based on their decades of experience with IDEO, the acclaimed design and innovation consulting firm based in San Francisco, and d.school (aka the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University), the Kelley’s offer up a guided tour that not only demolishes the myth that creativity is a gift only given to a select few but also offers a way forward for everyone to unlock their own gift within.

Creative ideation — the act of formulating, testing, and implementing creative ideas — is at the heart of the School of the Environment’s curriculum, and therefore Creative Confidence will be at the core of our reading list.  Over the next several weeks, I want to unpackage the practical steps that the Kelley’s lay out so that everyone can unleash the “creative” within.  So get a copy and read along.  It’s well worth the journey.

In the meantime, ask yourself these questions:  Do you feel like you are a creative person?  If not, what happened to convince you of that narrative about yourself?  And more importantly, how has that belief prevented you from unleashing your positive influence on the world?

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