Creative Confidence – a book and many ideas

With lower workloads, summer is a good time to get creative. But skilled analytical thinkers  (like us, right?) can be uncomfortable with “unresolved” issues and are prone to rush to judgment, and action, too soon — just the opposite of what’s needed to be creative.

Following up on last month’s post on innovation, I thought I would highlight another book, Creative Confidence, in which Tom and David Kelley of IDEO share many ideas to spur creativity for yourself or for your team. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Talk to customers. This one made me smile since we in the customer success world have long ago overcome any fear of talking with customers. Now, creativity experts are telling us that getting to know our customers is the best way to be creative. We have that down pat.
  • What people say they do is different from what they actually do, so you need to find ways to observe actions. This idea is at the core of user testing for support websites. Users may tell you that they use the tidy navigation on the left-hand side, but if you watch them use the site you will see that they instead scan the page for a promising icon. If you believe what they say, you will design the wrong thing.
  • Create an environment that’s conducive to discoveries. It won’t happen magically if you (and your team) are scheduled wall-to-wall with escalations!
  • Keep a list of what bugs you — they are all opportunities for improvement.
  • Use a storyboard to test your ideas.

The book also shares useful games and techniques to spur creativity. One I liked a lot (perhaps because I already use it) is the I like/I wish technique for group feedback. Ask the participants, one at a time, to say one thing they like about the idea/product/process, then one they wish was different. The recipient of the feedback should just listen quietly, without responding. It works, try it.

What do you do to spur creativity in your team?

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