Creative Confidence: Book Review

By Matthew Landkamer

In design and innovation circles, few organizations are held up with the awed reverence with which IDEO and the Stanford “d school” are, and in both cases that has a lot to do with the Kelley brothers—Tom and David. In their co-authored book, Creative Confidence, the Kelleys lay out the case that all of us have creative potential, if only we are taught how to access and leverage it.

Using case studies gathered from their respective careers at IDEO and Stanford, they illustrate how cultivating creativity for individuals and teams has created positive business outcomes in fields as divergent as infant incubation and consumer packaged goods, then they bring those ideas down to earth by introducing a series of exercises with which the reader can begin creating. Most importantly, they encourage the reader to get started immediately:

“The best way to gain confidence in your creative ability is through action—taken one step at a time.”

While I don’t personally suffer from any lack of creative confidence (if anything, it’s the opposite), I found that the book reinforced some of what I knew, taught me a lot more, and gave me some tools I can use when I work with teams—all while being a very enjoyable and engaging read. For the creative individual looking for some inspiration and some new tools, or for the creativity-challenged looking for a way to get started, Creative Confidence is well worth the read.