We are all born creative (David and Tom Kelley, 2015). Creativity or non-creativity are usually defined by ourselves. If some of us considered himself or herself as a non-creative person, it is most of the time because of a lack of creative confidence.

WHAT IS CREATIVE CONFIDENCE?

“Creative confidence is the natural human ability to come up with breakthrough ideas and the courage to act on them.” (David Kelley, 2015). Creativity is part of us, it is not something we have to learn, but something we have to rediscover. However, How?

First, as for any project, we should state the problem. Here, the problem is to understand why creativity was lost. Let’s take the context of a social manager trying to build a creative digital campaign. The lack of creativity may be a real issue to perform in its work. According to the Kelley brothers, we have developed four fears either consciously or not:

  • The fear of the messy unknown: did I understand well my brand, should I be aware of does and don’t? What are the key learnings from the past campaigns…?
  • The fear of being judged: should I innovate? Are the teams open to changes? Will others like my creativity?
  • The fear of the first step and losing control. How will consumers react? What will be the impact? Those two fears provide us from turning our creativity into reality. It prevents to act on our creativity, as it is required to be actually creative confident.

These fears have to be tackled one by one to be creative confident again.

FEAR OF THE MESSY UNKNOWN

“Get out of your comfort zone! “said a random manager. Here is the truth: usually brands create their products to answer a need or to take advantage of a market opportunity. They then keep the same graphics charts, the same wording, and same contexts for all the brand content they produce. Staying in this comfort zone helps to keep the marketing and social teams in the same track, keep the consumers within the same brand environment. Unfortunately, consumers are now evolving within an environment where everything changes a lot. Digital is now a way to offer so much creative content to attract and amaze consumers.

What can brands do to get out of this routine?

  • Go out and meet other brands
  • Speak with their consumers
  • Observe their way of living
  • Have empathy

Have empathy for customers is key to inspiration. Doug Dietz work is a good example of creative thinking fueled by empathy. He was creating MRI machines but discovered that 80% of pediatric patients in a hospital had to be sedated to deal with MRI Machines, as kids were scared. After observing the children, he redesigned the entire experience of scanning. He gave a great example of what we call creative thinking:

Creative thinking video, by Catherine Chourpa: 

FEAR OF BEING JUDGED

Fear of being judged constrains our careers and shape how we act majorly. They are two kinds of judgments:

  • Judged by others
  • Judge ourselves

Taking the context again of brand content management, what can we do about it?

  • Idea notebook: capture your thoughts and ideas systematically, even if they are not directly related to the brand environment.
  • Defer your judgment: to not judge you while generating ideas. If working with collaborators, keep pushing your ideas talking in the first-person perspective.

This last point seems simple and a bit stupid, but it is actually important. In big companies, it is frequently hard to express your opinion, making it only yours.

FEAR OF THE FIRST STEP

The fear of the first step is the fear to start a new (and important) project; you don’t know how to begin or you are afraid to take a risk. Usually, the reactions are to pretend to organize yourself, schedule your to-do list, but it is resulting in the postponing of the tasks.
What can be done? (Let’s take the example of Social Media Content Management):

  • First, stop planning and get started. This point is hard to apply as all the social posts are planned a month in advance. Marketing teams are often not conscious of how hard it can be for the social manager to be creative. Often, be creative on request is not efficient.
  • If deadlines cannot be negotiated, it is time to set crazy deadlines. It has been shown that deadlines that do not let you a lot of time to accomplish a task can result in great results.
  • Creativity is also hard to be processed. Skip “formal steps” to go faster and right to the point.

 

FEAR OF LOSING CONTROL

Losing control over a project can happen in reality if the field does not match the expectations. It can be due to biased assumptions or lack of data when taking the decision to produce. This results in people refusing to let go of their idea even its sure to fail, because of the financial and emotional investment. It also leads to people refusing to share their ideas.

Creative confidence is not easy to re-acquire. Some concessions have to be done and companies should be aware of the importance of creativity nowadays. Creativity is key to innovation and to make the difference.

 

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