“Unleashing the Creative Potential within us all”
from IDEO.com 24 April 15 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
A Little Background. The authors of this book are David Kelley — Founder of IDEO (one of the world’s leading design firms, by many estimations) and creator of the Stanford Design school — and his brother Tom Kelley, a partner at IDEO, and author of The Art of Innovation + The Ten Faces of Innovation. They are both based in the San Francisco Bay Area; and IDEO has a global presence where they work with an exceptionally wide range of companies, organizations, & people on all manner of projects involving design, strategy & innovation.
1. Style & Design; Writing & Content. This book is beautifully designed and fun to read. The illustrations are stylish ink drawings, the layout is clean. The section where the authors are actually recommending that you do something specific, are clearly delineated from the rest of the text. The writing style is brisk & energetic — very SF Bay area design firm meets inspirational professor-style — and the & between ideas/concepts and real-world stories is just right.
2. Content of the Book, is generally very good. For example, one of the stories they tell is about the founding of the News-reader app called Pulse, which was started by two students in a class at the Stanford Design.school, developed in a nearby Palo Alto café, and finally sold to LinkedIn for $90 million. This story is not only a great example of the Silicon Valley, but also a great illustration of many of the pieces of advice that the Brothers Kelley are giving out in the book. Some of the Advice follows:
3. Embrace Constraints. The Pulse founders, Ankit Gupta & Akshay Kothari, started the company as part of a Design.school class, which meant they had only 10 weeks to get the whole thing up & running. The Kelleys consistently tout the value of constraints/ challenges, as a spur to fresh thinking, positive urgency, & innovation.
4. Adopt a “Do Something” Mindset, as opposed to the “Let’s Plan Everything Out First” mindset. These guys sat at a Palo Alto cafe, started creating the App, and started showing it to people in the café. Then they would tweak it — literally making dozens or even hundreds of tweaks every day — and show it to more people. In other words, prototyping & iteration — plus a constant stream of customer feedback. Yea !!! Just what most startups should do.
5. Engage with Potential Customers. A key part of the “Do Something” mindset is the engaging-customers component. This is in keeping with the currently en vogue Lean/Agile approach to…well…just about everything — the idea that you envision something, make a version of it, show it to someone, and improve it, over & over again, it pleases most of your potential customers. Two other principles that are peppered throughout the book are:
6. Observation/Understanding. There is great benefit in careful observation/understanding of the customer before you Launch, as opposed to just inter-acting with them when you show them your work.
7. Open Collaboration. Taking an “open” approach to collaboration & creativity yields great benefits vs keeping everything behind closed doors in stealth mode.
Conclusion. Again, for all of these principles, students & practitioners of innovation will have seen these principles, and probably used them before, but the way in which they are presented, and the stories that bring them to life, add up to more than the sum of the conceptual parts. I would say that if you care about innovation/ creativity, and want to keep expanding your understanding of it and your ability to do it, the book is well worth reading. If you don’t have time to read the book yourself, you can check out the TED video or get an Audio Book from your Library.
So, Is this a Good Book? The short answer is: I think this is a “very good” book. Most people — and even some people who know a fair amount about innovation — will find much of this material either new, or at least a fresh presentation of things they need to be reminded about. One possible downside: For the innovation obsessed, some of the stuff near the front of the book about how “everyone can be innovative/creative,” and “the power of innovation/creativity” might seem obvious, but it’s my experience that we can all benefit from this particular Pep talk, to keep our perspectives on this important topic fresh.
Comments: What did you think of the book “Creative Confidence?