How to empower creative confidence in others?

Creative confidence is like a muscle—it can be strengthened and nurtured through effort and experience.” (David Kelley)

Anyone can be creative. Creativity is our most powerful resource as human. The key factor that I learned over the two-day workshop of Design thinking at Laurea (2nd-3rd September 2016) was that, being creative means unleashing your mind. Being creative is being free from assumptions and prejudices and believing you can make a difference and change in the world around you.

Creativity is often related to artistic competence or features – the key is to understand that not only designers or artists are the ones with creative mind. We all have it. Being creative is our natural part of being a human. Thru out the history we have survived because of our skills of communication and creativity. Still quite often we find ourselves in situations in teams without any common goal. Design tools are a magnificent way to get to know each other and to create more mutual understanding between people. It´s about raising awareness and creating empathy and knowledge. Everyone’s insights are important and meaningful when it comes to innovating together. Creating ideas together and nurturing the ideas of others. We were encouraged to experiment different type of solutions with different DT tools and learn to throw away those ideas we thought were not vital. This was one of the most important lessons learned during the workshop.

img_9654    img_9648

So how do we empower creative confidence in others?

I think the answer is simply in creating a safe space for throwing ideas, processing them and celebrating together early success. Fear of failure paralyzes us so we have to have a permission to fail. There is no wrong answers and failing is just a part of the process. We can learn from failure – it is not the end but the beginning. Or as David and Tom Kelley write in their book Creative Confidence: “We believe the lessons learned from failures may make us smarter – even stronger”. Starting with small steps, small success and building confidence step-by-step helps people get a taste on finding the creativity in them and enjoy the feeling of releasing all the ideas they have and finally graduate to the point where they trust and confide in their own creativeness and there is nothing blocking the best ideas.

I picked up few DT tools that I think are valuable in building trust and to empower creative confidence in others:

  • Brainwriting or Brainsketching are good tools for idea generation sessions because they allow every participant to create ideas first on their own without immediate influence of other team members. This tool boosts confidence in generating your ideas and not being too stuck with the first ideas you´ve come up with.
  • Sketching and moodboards gives a freedom of expression. Everyone can draw, it doesn’t matter if it´s stick figures or very artistic the main idea is to make it visual. Moodboards are clever tool because you can use any kind of material; photography, press cuttings, designs or illustrations, color palettes, textures, descriptive words etc.
  • Prototyping makes ideas more tangible but also it is a great tool for teams to strengthen communication. And because prototyping is just testing (embodiment of) the idea it allows you to fail, make changes and perhaps come up with a totally new idea. I learned that service safaris and role plays are a different version of prototyping but I think they ask a lot more confidence and therefore they are not the ones to start with.

img_9665           img_9666

img_9656           img_9671

Written by Saara Jäämies


Miettinen, Satu (toim.) 2011. Palvelumuotoilu – uusia menetelmiä käyttäjätiedon hankintaan ja hyödyntämiseen. Tammerprint Oy.

Tschimmel, Katja 2012. Design Thinking as an Effective Toolkit for Innovation in Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation from Experience. (

Kelley, David and Kelley, Tom (2013) Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. Crown Business. (

Design Thinking workshop facilitated by Portuguese Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença at Laurea on 2nd-3rd september 2016.

Mindshake 2016. Referred to 24.9.2016.

d62model       img_9831




One thought on “How to empower creative confidence in others?

  1. Creating a safe place to ideate is definitely one of the most important aspects in DT. As you mentioned, anyone can be creative, but a good environment where you can freely discuss ideas and thoughts will boost the creativity.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s