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Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  10,803 ratings  ·  692 reviews
IDEO founder and Stanford creator David Kelley and his brother Tom Kelley, IDEO partner and the author of the bestselling The Art of Innovation, have written a powerful and compelling book on unleashing the creativity that lies within each and every one of us.

Too often, companies and individuals assume that creativity and innovation are the domain of the "creative
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Crown Business (first published January 1st 2013)
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Sep 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It’s true. All kids are creative, but we are very specific about which adults we label as ‘creative’. It got me thinking and I realized there’s hardly any escaping: As a child, you’re told to “go, and have fun”, you’re encouraged to explore, to fail, to get better, to try again, and again and again. The bumps and bruises aren’t a bad thing, they’re your badge of honour: you’ve tried, you’ve persevered.
And then you hit a certain more adult age and you’re told “to be careful, to study/work hard a
Jul 13, 2014 rated it liked it
A bit of a disappointment, as much because of my expectations as the book itself. I was hoping "unleashing the creative potential within all of us" would have a lot more application to education than business but it was rather relentlessly corporate in its viewpoint. So in that respect it has a lot of case studies where this CEO and that company employee prove that thinking outside of the rhombus pays off.

Much of the material is familiar. Be open-minded. Be willing to take chances. Carry paper f
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
A self help book that's really just a long recruitment brochure for the Stanford ...more
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I liked this book! How could I not, it's exactly my kind of thing - design, education, problem-solving, creativity. That sums up some of my favorite topics pretty neatly. I am between rating the book a 3 and a 4, because it was indeed inspiring and thought-provoking...but I just have a particular idea of how perfect the book SHOULD be, and it isn't quite.

To give props where they are due - there are lots of great stories in this book. IDEO success stories, D-School success stories, IDEO-influence
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: entrepreneurship
A book is good when it is well written and offers insight. But a book is amazing when it can actually make a difference to your life, to who you are as an individual. I would put this book in the latter category. I picked it up to get some background on a design thinking role I was hoping to apply for. Amidst these job applications, it's easy for anyone to feel jaded. I was in fact quite morose and skeptical of the value my higher education has created in my life. But the more I read this book, ...more
Paul Grech
May 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: self-help
Whilst there is a lot of material in here, this is essentially an advertising brochure for the two authors' company IDEO and A large number of examples come from former students or co-workers and whilst interesting this does not really seem as authoritative. The main benefit of this book lies in the number of practical exercises to help people in the various stages of the creative process but, again, very little was original and most thoughts can be found in most blogs on this subject. ...more
The book starts off on a great note emphasising how everyone can channelise their creativity in a productive manner. It also gives some guidelines and examples of how design thinking created some great solutions that are interesting to read. The only one downer was that most of these examples were from the Stanford programme, which started the making the book seem too focused on the achievements of one institution than the process as a whole.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book after taking a few online courses on creativity and design by IDEO. That’s how I found out about Tom & David Kelley and their ingenious at Stanford. Since then I’m a follower.

Just the book I’ve needed lately, full of tools to pursue new ideas with confidence and to tackle design problems with simple changes with the premise that anyone can be a creative.
The caveat is genetic differentiation. Beneath the umbrella of humanity, there is a subset of us who are wired to ch
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Although, in full disclosure, perhaps it was the context in which I read it. First, I am embarking on a year of self-discovery/action (i.e. rather than always thinking "I wish I could ..." or "I would like to ...," I'm acting on those things). Second, I'm currently engrossed in a year-long leadership development program for work in which innovation is at the core. Nonetheless, this is a fantastic primer on the concept of design thinking and nurturing your creative self. Everyo ...more
Solid book about the notion that creativity isn't innate but can be trained/coached, with the courage to try new ideas and fail. The worst thing for the creative process is inaction, getting stuck in the planning stage. It provides tons of case studies, ideas, and examples for individuals, organizations, and leaders to improve creativity in yourself and your teams. At the end, it even lists a handful of exercises you can do on your own or with your team to get the creative juices flowing.

The one
Adib Hakim
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was highly inter-active.

I found myself reflecting a lot about how I see problems and the opportunities it presents and immediately saw how powerful a different attitude to such processes could be. In addition, Creative Confidence brings tools that illustrates it's central premise of innovation very well, ultimately helping us on in applying the insights in our unique situations.

My wife has seen me reading this book really slowly, and out of curiosity she's asked to read it. I look forw
Jeffrey Howard
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Kelley brothers inspired and convinced me of our universal creativity. There aren't "creative" types and everybody else. Creativity requires two things: an ability to solve a problem in a new or unconventional way, and an ability to empathize. This is Design Thinking. All problem solving should be human-centered and driven by empathy for the end user, whatever the product or service may be. Regardless of our educational background, professional choices, or college major, we should and can de ...more
Stephanie Sun
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook
Nice birthday read.

I've always liked IDEO's processes and philosophies when engaging below surface level with them, but "design thinking" just *sounds* like bullshit. Design is the creative process of commercial entities, mainly. Thinking here is a mental posture. Design + Thinking just didn't seem to be more than the sum of its parts, the parts being two lackluster words. Tom and David Kelley would be the first to tell you that names matter, and so by their own standards the whole enterprise se
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
David and Tom Kelley, as part of the design firm Ideo, believe in the importance of bringing creativity to business. Their enthusiastic passion for the process of creativity and design shows through in Creative Confidence, a book in which they explore what it takes to bring out and nurture creativity in business. This book offers an exploration of the activities and concepts that have helped guide them in their own business, as well as activities that can help guide you in your own company. The ...more
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm lucky enough to have parents who let me be me - even if that meant drawing all over my books as a kid - and I never doubted I was creative. I even did a stint in art school. But I've met so many people who "can't draw" or who are "totally left-brain" or whatever. And that's never true. We all create! We can all draw and think outside the box and push the boundaries. And being creative doesn't mean being a graphic designer. It means not stopping at the first possible solution, and not being a ...more
Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Totally bordering on self-help. Got really annoying after the fifth chapter. At one point, felt like throwing it away but kindle!! Became preachy and started feeling like a long advertisement for IDEO and The practical activities suggested came as a relief in the seventh chapter. So I mostly skimmed through chapter 8 and 6(to be fair it's more relevant if you are in a leadership position in an organisation) , but then for people who claim to focus on human-empathy, I don't see how they ...more
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Let's put it this way: this book has far more highlighted passages in my Kindle than any other book I've read! I found it to be a good combo of inspiring and practical.

The authors did a great job of making creative thinking accessible for everyone. They include plenty of research and real-world examples that help give their ideas context. I love the focus on taking action -- rather than pondering what might be, they advocate jumping in and starting. And it's through the process of iterating tha
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I think it's pretty good. Check it out ;) ...more
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good practical examples of what it means to build confidence to be more creative with purpose.
Timothy Holmes
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book. Though it isn’t a leadership book, i think this book is a great resource for leaders who either have a creative edge to their personality, or leaders who want to integrate more innovation in their work, or their teams. You have to get over the massive amount of IDEO and name drops in the book (it could definitely feel like a 250 page promotional book), but if you’re able to not get distracted by that, the innovation concepts they talk through could be greatly i ...more
Neelam Babul
Apr 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Whilst there is a lot of useful information on creativity and how to nurture it in one's life, I felt that essentially it was an advertising brochure for the two authors' company IDEO and A large number of examples come from former students or co-workers and whilst interesting this does not really seem as authoritative.

The main benefit of this book lies in the number of practical exercises to help people in the various stages of the creative process but, again, very little was origina
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I liked the positive, upbeat vibe of this one. When I first started this one, I wasn't sure if I'd like it. But once the intros and explanations were over, it became more interesting. Some readers have shelved this as a self-help book, but it didn't seem to fill that niche for me. It was entertaining and I liked this use of examples. So 4 stars. ...more
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost didn't start this one but I'm glad I did. What it lacks in originality it makes up for in energy. You can definitely feel the Kelley brothers' enthusiasm for their subject. There are a few practical tips, lots of stories, and a clear passion for giving adults more creativity.
But...not really anything new if you keep up with popular trends in marketing/business/inspiring your employees.
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
This book made me miss Olin and in person collaboration so much.
Ahmad Badghaish
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good one.
Grant Baker
Decently written and chock full of examples, Creative Confidence is the quick read you need to get you out of the rut. The book contains exercises to try, case studies to share, and an excitement that’s contagious. Recommended for anyone looking for a way to break out of the same old way of doing things.
Fernando De los Rios

Open your mind to new and disrupting ideas and different ways to see the world and how you design solutions for everyday simple or complex problems, leading teams to innovate confidently
Vivek Arun
Dec 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Reduced it by a star since I was already well versed with the whole idea of design thinking workshops (having conducted some myself). The whole book, in a way, is basically promoting IDEO’s famous design thinking approach to solving problems - user centric, empathy mapping, personas etc. The book does a good job at introducing this to someone new to this field though. Would recommend it to newbies.
Sidharth Mishra
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A must read book for everyone. Splendidly written, highly insightful and hard to put down. The authors - the men behind Ideo share their pearls of wisdom about creativity.
The book helps one realize that everyone has a latent creative potential waiting to be unleashed. And creativity is not limited to writing, painting, creating crafts and other such artistic stuffs. Creativity is at play almost all around us. From looking at a problem differently, to discovering experiences that can be improved
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
David Kelley, who co-wrote 'Creative Confidence' with his brother Tom, had worked with, and was a close friend of the late Steve Jobs. In the book, we learn that, "Steve had a deep sense of creative confidence. He believed -- he knew -- that you can achieve audacious goals if you have the courage and perseverance to pursue them."

The intention of the book is to dispel the notion that only some of us were born with creativity in our genes, when in fact, we all have the ability to be creative, desp
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Thomas Kelley runs the marketing side of the hugely successful industrial product design firm IDEO. His brother, David, started the company in 1977 in Palo Alto, CA. One of his earliest projects was designing the first mouse for Steve Jobs at Apple Computers.

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  As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
27 likes · 5 comments
“I used to think that to make something happen in a corporation or in the army, you had to be at the higher ranks, to be a general. But you just need to start a movement.” 15 likes
“That combination of thought and action defines creative confidence: the ability to come up with new ideas and the courage to try them out.” 14 likes
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