"I wanted to talk to you today about creative confidence. I'm going to start way back in the third grade at Oakdale School in Barberton, Ohio.
I remember one day my best friend Brian was working on a project. He was making a horse out of the clay our teacher kept under the sink. And at one point, one of the girls that was sitting at his table, seeing what he was doing, leaned over and said to him, "That's terrible. That doesn't look anything like a horse." And Brian's shoulders sank. And he wadded up the clay horse and he threw it back in the bin. I never saw Brian do a project like that ever again.
And I wonder how often that happens, you know? It seems like when I tell that story of Brian to my class, a lot of them want to come up after class and tell me about their similar experience, how a teacher shut them down, or how a student was particularly cruel to them. And then some kind of opt out of thinking of themselves as creative at that point. And I see that opting out that happens in childhood, and it moves in and becomes more ingrained, even, by the time you get to adult life.
So we see a lot of this. When we have a workshop or when we have clients in to work with us side by side, eventually we get to the point in the process that's kind of fuzzy or unconventional. And eventually, these big-shot executives whip out their BlackBerrys and they say they have to make really important phone calls, and they head for the exits. And they're just so uncomfortable. When we track them down and ask them what's going on, they say something like, "I'm just not the creative type." But we know that's not true. If they stick with the process, if they stick with it, they end up doing amazing things. And they surprise themselves at just how innovative they and their teams really are.
So I've been looking at this fear of judgment that we have, that you don't do things, you're afraid you're going to be judged; if you don't say the right creative thing, you're going to be judged. And I had a major breakthrough, when I met the psychologist Albert Bandura."
Is your school or workplace divided between the "creatives" versus the practical people? Yet surely, David Kelley suggests, creativity is not the domain of only a chosen few. Telling stories from his legendary design career and his own life, he offers ways to build the confidence to create. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)
About the speaker David Kelley · Designer, educator David Kelley’s company IDEO helped create many icons of the digital generation -- but what matters even more to him is unlocking the creative potential of people and organizations to innovate routinely.