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Creative Inspiration: 99U, James Victore, Creative Confidence & the RSA

Inspiration

I’m going to start sharing some of the people and things that inspire me and inform my thinking. I hope it’s useful!

Some great things this week from one of my favourite websites, 99U, which calls itself an ‘education initiative for creatives’, and is a rich resource of advice and inspiration on creativity and productivity. It’s what this site would be if we had more time and money!

Their director & editor-in-chief Jocelyn Glei participated in a Reddit Q&A and gave an answer that we heartily agree with. She was asked how she defines creativity:

“I think of creativity as being the same as problem-solving. So it’s more a question of identifying a problem, and then working your way through iterations until you solve it. Certainly those aha moments are part of the process along the way, but the idea is that it’s a process that anyone can do. If you have talent, I think it just means maybe you can go through that process a bit quicker than some others to whom it might come less naturally. But everyone is creative.”

I couldn’t have put it better.

Within the Q&A Jocelyn also points to an article by New York designer James Victore called Confidence vs Shyness. He argues the case for confidence:

“The point is not to create a protective, alternate super-ego or some indomitable spirit within, but being conscious and in charge of the fear that tends to run our lives. To be comfortable with who we are, comfortable with the fear and comfortable with doubt. Confidence is accepting fear and self-doubt as part of our lives, and not living under it.”

“Confidence comes from a place of abundance and wealth. It gives us the courage and freedom to move forward, to ask for help, to ask for more, to ask for what you deserve. To be able to begin before you’re ready and have the willingness to fail. And to be cool with failure as well.”

With a book called Creative Confidence about to be published by IDEO’s Kelley brothers, this is a subject we’ll be hearing a lot of. On that subject, you should take a look at this OpenIDEO project – tons of great inspiration. Thanks to our client Russell Findlay for spotting this.

Here’s one of the posts from the OpenIDEO project – a pep talk to build creative confidence (see the video on YouTube here):

I’ve been running a lot this week, and I’ve been listening to some great RSA podcasts as I’ve pounded the pavements. This week’s listening:

  • Management guru Clayton Christensen explains why more companies should aim for empowering innovations as opposed to efficiency innovations. It’s a compelling talk and is further enhanced by the presence of IDEO’s Tom Hulme as a commentator. See our Business Gurus page for more on Clayton Christensen.
  • Psychologist Carol Dweck talks about growth mindsets and what motivates us to learn. I believe there’s a strong link between this and creativity – in our Play workshops we talk a lot about having a creative mindset and openness to experience as being important traits to increasing creative ability.
  • And related to Carol Dweck’s points, former head teacher Richard Gerver explains why we should see change as an opportunity for creative reinvention.

They’re all worth your time – highly recommended.

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