Do you remember yourself back in kindergarten? You played and experimented and tried out weird things without fear or shame. And then you grew up and started to see yourself as “not the creative type”, if you happen to be like us. What happened?
In this blog post we’ll show how creativity isn’t a rare gift to be enjoyed by the lucky few, instead unblocking creative spark with Design Thinking can have far-reaching implications for yourself, your organisation and your community.
Design Thinking comes to help
Creativity is not magic, it’s a skill. The IDEO brothers Tom and David Kelley strongly believe that most people are vastly more creative and capable than they know. It’s that the fear of social rejection and failure is something we learn as we get older. We believe this happened for us too. That is why it felt like seeing light at the end of the tunnel when we got to know Design Thinking.
Design Thinking is a process for creative problem solving. It can be understood as a way of thinking which leads to transformation, evolution and progress, to new and better forms of living. Design Thinking humanizes and simplifies technologies, problems and several complex issues. As a personal note, trying and testing Design Thinking processes and methodologies have fueled our personal creativity.
No more supernaturally gifted geniuses
In the last century, according to Tschimmel (2010), the perception of the creativity concept gradually moved from the paradigm of the “supernaturally gifted genius” to the paradigm of the “creative person”. He or she has the innate potential to think creatively, but more importantly, can improve creative thoughts by applying certain techniques and methods.
Decisive in determining whether a person is creative or not, is no longer just the characteristics of the personality and cognitive abilities. What counts is the recognition of a work as a creative achievement and its integration into the domain.
Five ways to practice your creativity muscles
Like a muscle, your creative abilities will grow and strengthen with practice. We summarized five tips from the literature how you can take the most out of Design Thinking to unblock your creativity.
1. Don’t expect the most brilliant ideas strike like lightning, instead they are the result of hard work augmented by a creative human-centered discovery process. Empathy with users, a discipline of prototyping, and tolerance for failure chief among them.
2. Multitalented team beats the lone genious inventor. The increasing complexity of products, services and experiments forces us to adapt a team-based approach to innovation.
3. Use your empathy. By taking a people first approach you can observe things that other do not. Many of the world’s most successful brands create breakthrough ideas that are inspired by a deep understanding of consumers’ lives.
4. Embrace risk and failure. “If something hasn’t been done before, there’s no way to guarantee its outcome.” View failure as part of the cost of innovation.
5. Feed your creativity by doing new things or things differently daily: wash your teeth by standing only one leg, try new recipes or invent ones, draw whatever even if you think you can’t, write down daily one idea or inspiration. Start with Dan Roam, the man behind “Napkin Academy”, who shows how to draw anything.
Written by Katriina Valkeapää and Maarit Saari
References and links:
Brown, Tim (2008) Design Thinking. Harvard Business Review, June, 84-95.
Kelley, D. & Kelley, T. (2013) Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. Crown Business.
Kolko, J. (2015) Design thinking comes of age. The approach, once used primarily in product design, is now infusing corporate culture. (Links to an external site.) Harvard Business Review September 2015, 66-71.
Tschimmel, Katja (2020). Design Thinking course lectures, September 4–5 2020. Laurea University of Applied Sciences. Espoo, Finland.
Tschimmel, K. (2020). Creativity, Design and Design Thinking – a human-centred ménage à trois. In Perspectives on Design: Research, Education and Practice II. Ed. Springer “Serie in Design and Innovation”. (in process)