In today's dynamic and cutthroat world, creativity is the X-factor that can set you apart from the competition. Some may believe that creativity is reserved only for the likes of da Vinci and Picasso, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Creativity is a superpower within us all, waiting to be unleashed. It is the power to conjure new ideas, see the world from a different angle, and solve problems with brilliance.
The inspiration for this article came after reading "Creative Confidence" by David & Tom Kelly. This book is a manual for unlocking your inner creative, filled with personal stories, and case studies that will have you saying "I can do that too!" Kelly demystifies creativity and proves that it's not just for the artsy types. This book inspired me to delve deeper, and share my findings with others, hoping to encourage more people to tap into their creative potential.
In this article, we'll explore different ways to tap into your inner creativity and boost your confidence in your ability to come up with new and innovative ideas. From embracing uncertainty to surrounding yourself with inspiration. We'll cover all the tips and tricks you need to build your creative confidence.
Believe in the within
When it comes to building creative confidence, the first step is to trust in your own abilityto be creative. Dalai Lama’s translator, Thupten Jinpa, once said, "There’s no word in the Tibetan language for “creativity” or “being creative.” The closest translation is “natural”, highlighting that creativity is a fundamental aspect of human nature. However, we tend to limit our own creative abilities due to preconceived notions. But the truth is, creativity is for everyone, regardless of background or profession. Similar to building muscles, it takes practice and effort to build creative confidence, but the results are well worth it.
So whether you're a CEO, a teacher, or a stay-at-home parent, it's time to break free from these limiting beliefs and tap into your inner creativity.
Get the Ball Rolling
Stuck in a creative rut? Welcome to the club! Facing a massive project can be overwhelming, making it feel like there's no way to climb the mountain of work. I've been there too, where I've tried to create the perfect plan to tackle everything at once, with To-Do lists, Pomodoro timers, and organized desks. But sometimes, all that planning just becomes procrastination in disguise. Don't get me wrong, they're great to get started, but sometimes you just need to throw caution to the wind and dive in!
Here are some tips on how to take action faster:
Ask for help: If you're feeling stuck, ask a colleague for their input. Two heads are better than one, after all!
One task at a time: Pick one task and focus solely on that. Put on your favourite tunes, turn off your notifications, and get into the flow.
Do the doable: Don't aim for perfection from the get-go. Start with what you know needs to be done and let your subconscious creativity guide you to the next steps.
Peer pressure is your friend: Tell your coworkers that you're going to complete a certain task by the end of the week, and even set a calendar invite. The sense of urgency and pressure will likely inspire some creative problem-solving.
Get out of your comfort zone
You never know what you don't know, and a spark of creativity may often lie beyond the known. So, how do you find that? You step outside of your comfort zone and explore new horizons! By exposing yourself to new experiences, you'll not only learn new things but may also discover a fresh perspective that could inspire you in ways you never thought possible. Who knows, you may stumble upon a solution to a long-standing problem, or better yet, a brand-new idea that you never even thought was possible.
Here are a few tips to help you step out of your comfort zone and find your spark:
Take the leap: Imagine the worst-case scenario and then ask yourself, "Is it really that bad?" Chances are, it's not. So, go ahead and give it a try!
Ditch the Expectations: Don’t have any preconceived notions or expectations. Instead, try to be fully present in the moment and enjoy the new experience for what it is.
Don't Be Afraid to Fail: The people who are afraid to fail limit their learning experiences and often don't grow. Embrace the possibility of failure and have a sense of humor about it. You may end up learning something new and having a good laugh in the process!
💡 Take the example of Steve Jobs, who took a trip to India in the 1970s to search for spiritual enlightenment. This trip opened his mind to new perspectives, cultures, and ways of thinking. This ultimately shaped the way he approached innovation and design at Apple.
Take a chance, and the chances are you will either win big or, at the very least, collect some valuable lessons from your failures. Experimenting is the perfect combination of stepping out of your comfort zone and taking action. It sets you up for potential early failures, but these small setbacks can often be crucial stepping stones on the road to a big success. Just remember to keep your experiments quick, fast, and cheap (nobody wants to see a slow-motion failure!)
Here are some tips to help you on your experimental journey:
Narrow the Goal: Don't try to save the world in one experiment! Keep your goals small and lower the stakes so you can experiment faster and not feel so bad when (not if) you fail.
Embrace Failure: It's time to give failure a hug and thank it for all the lessons it will teach you. The key to success is learning from your mistakes and not repeating them in the future.
Involve Stakeholders: Don't keep your experiments locked up in a vacuum! Get other people involved to get different perspectives and guide your experiments in a better direction.
Jot Down Your Learnings: Write down everything you learn so you can reference it in the future. This will save you from making the same mistakes over and over again.
Reuse, Don't Reinvent: Reuse what's already out there instead of starting from scratch. This will keep your experiments cheap and efficient.
💡 Netflix's early success can be attributed to its culture of experimentation. Reed Hastings, had a chance discussion with Marc Randolph about the potential of mailing movies on DVDs. While he had not used a DVD before, he saw its potential and knew it was a growing trend in Japan. He went to a store and purchased one for himself, and conducted a "validation experiment" by mailing the DVD. To their surprise, the DVD arrived in good condition, which served as the seed for Reed to start the company that would eventually become Netflix.
Shift your perspective
Staring at a blank page, feeling completely stuck, and ready to toss your project into oblivion. Sound familiar? It happens to the best of us. But before you send your ideas to the scrap heap, take a step back and try changing your perspective. Changing the way you look at things can sometimes be the spark that reignites your creative juices.
Here are a few tips to help you shift your perspective:
Reframe the question: Dive deeper into the problem you're trying to solve and see if you can reframe it in a different way. Ask yourself "What if I approached this from a different angle?" or "What if I solved this for a different target audience?" These questions can help you see the problem in a whole new light.
Change your medium: If you usually work on a computer, try sketching with a pen and paper. If you're used to working at your desk, try taking your work to a new environment, like a park or a coffee shop. Changing the way you create can also change the way you think.
Add a constraint: Constraints can often be the kick in the pants you need to get your creative gears turning. Try setting a specific time limit, budget, or materials restriction and see how it affects your approach.
👉 Read more on how to shift your perspective in the article “Creativity in Constraints” written by Ummesalama Rajgara.”
Gone are the days of the lone genius creating masterpieces all by themselves. A creatively charged team can unleash a storm of ideas, as each member brings their unique perspectives and experiences to the table. And not only do you get more ideas, but you also get the added motivation and support that comes with working as a team. So, why settle for just one brilliant mind, when you can have an entire room full of them?
Here's how to bring out the best in your creative team:
Defer Judgment: Encourage everyone to share their ideas and listen without judgment. Who knows, that wild idea just might be the missing piece to the puzzle!
Break Down Hierarchies: Give everyone a chance to speak and be heard, regardless of their title or seniority.
Play to Everyone's Strengths: Know what your team members excel at, and delegate tasks accordingly. This will not only help you get things done faster and more efficiently but also build up everyone's confidence.
Get Personal: Take the time to get to know your team members on a more personal level. Not only will it help you collaborate better, but it'll also create a happier work environment.
Have Fun: Whether it's grabbing lunch together, playing a game, or just having a good laugh, having fun with your team can help you understand each other better and get your creative juices flowing.”
💡 Take a page from the success of "Modern Family”. Some of the most memorable episodes came out because of the tight-knit writing team that was not afraid to get personal! They took their personal lives and used them as inspiration, and the result was pure gold.
Unleashing Creativity: The Wednesday Way
At Wednesday, we're all about boosting creative confidence and having a little fun while we do it. As a consultancy, we know the key to delivering outstanding ideas for our clients is to have a team brimming with creativity and boldness. So, how do we do it?
Mondays are for "Monday-thing": Our design team starts the week off with a bang during our weekly stand-up. We plan ahead and set the tone for a productive week.
Wednesdays are for "Wednesday-thing": We share our current projects and give each other feedback, ensuring we're always learning and growing together.
Fridays are for "Friday-thing": It's all about bonding and having a good time. We have a no-agenda call where we play games, chat about movies, and just have some laughs.
Regular check-ins: We have no-agenda 1-1 calls with customers, managers, and team members. This gives us the opportunity to discuss anything on our minds and come up with innovative solutions.
Seasonal websites: We go all out for seasonal websites, like Diwali and Christmas. We bring everyone on board and divide tasks based on individual strengths, giving us a chance to experiment with new trends.
Camaraderie and flat hierarchy: Our open and inclusive culture means we can bring our best ideas to the table without fear of judgment.
Head-on experiments: We love to experiment and test new things in-house. Whether it's running user research activities with project managers and developers or trying out a new technique, we're always pushing the boundaries.
We have implemented various practices and activities to encourage creativity and boost confidence among our team members. By embracing these practices, we have been able to cultivate a strong sense of camaraderie and a fearless approach to problem-solving. This has led to more innovative solutions for our customers.
Building creative confidence is like training for a marathon, it takes dedication, perseverance, and a little bit of madness. You gotta believe in yourself, like really believe, no room for self-doubt here. Then, lace up those shoes and take action, one step at a time, and don't be afraid to ask for help when needed. Next, it's time to leave that comfort zone behind and embrace the unknown, because that's where the magic happens. And finally, let's get wild, embrace experimentation, and let your inner mad scientist run wild. Who knows what kind of creative masterpieces you'll come up with. So, let's do this, let's build that creative confidence and unleash our inner creativity!
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