David and Tom Kelley are the creative minds behind the iconic design company, IDEO. IDEO produced some of the most innovative designs of the digital generation such as the first Apple mouse and the thumbs up/thumbs down button.

David, especially, is closely connected to the d.school at Stanford University, one of the premier schools teaching design thinking and multidisciplinary creative process. IDEO follows a design thinking methodology to promote collaboration and innovation, solving problems in human-centred ways.

David Kelley believes that everyone is creative, and that creativity is not an “artistic” ability, but a way of viewing and understanding the world.

In their book Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All, the brothers say that:

…there’s no word in the Tibetan language for creativity or being creative. The closest translation is natural. In other words, if you want to be creative, you just have to be more natural.”

They believe that everyone was creative as a child, and lost belief in their creative abilities through social conditioning. Creativity can be developed by helping people rediscover the creative ability they once had.

Tom and David Kelley

They say:

What we’ve found is that we don’t have to generate creativity from scratch. We just need to help people rediscover what they already have: the capacity to imagine — or build upon — new-to-the-world ideas. But the real value of creativity doesn’t emerge until you are brave enough to act on those ideas. That combination of thought and action defines creative confidence: the ability to come up with new ideas and the courage to try them out.

Tom and David Kelley
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