5 Ways to Build Creative Confidence through Courageous Doing

Build Creative Confidence through Courageous Doing

We’re inspired by people who take action and learn by doing. Courageous doing is a theme for us at IDEO U and part of the definition of what it means to be creatively confident.

Courageous Doers pursue progress over perfection. They’re willing to use whatever they can find to experiment their way forward and they have the resilience to rebound if things go awry. They turn failure into learning and see constraints as opportunities. They have chutzpah.

So, how can we add more courageous doing into our daily lives? Here are 5 ways to begin doing:

1. Start Small

Sometimes the hardest thing about tackling our work challenges is getting started. There’s a tendency to focus on details before we even learn if something is desirable. Starting small is a great way to reduce the risk of failure and learn faster. IDEO Portfolio Director Annette Diefenthaler warns against sitting in your office just planning what you’re going to do in the future. Make something or do something to get your ideas out the doors of your office as soon as you can.

2. Get Feedback From Both Your Team + Customers

In our interview with Claudia Kotchka, former VP of Design Innovation and Strategy at P&G, Claudia discusses the importance of getting customer feedback and the value of using low-resolution prototypes. "With IDEO, we walked in with prototypes made of duct tape, pipe cleaners, and paper plates. I was standing back because I was embarrassed, thinking I cannot believe we’re walking into someone’s house with this thing. But it was just magical because you realize that the consumer looks at this prototype, imagines it, and quickly realizes, these people need my help. That’s exactly what you want, you want their help. You want them to build with you and help create, and you can’t do that when you show them something finished."

You’ll also want to get feedback from your team early and often and get the buy-in and support you need to bring an idea to fruition.

Pursue Progress Over Perfection

3. Get Tangible + Make Something

Stop thinking, start making. Make your ideas come to life by building something rough and rapid. The process of building will help clarify your thinking. Experiments are are great way to lower the bar in trying out an idea. And the faster the experiment, the more likely you are to try it.

4. Do Something New

Do something you’ve never done before. As Neil Stevenson reminded us in our Chasing Creativity webinar, you only have one life, you should push yourself to do all the things that seem scary to you. The act of doing it will immediately push you somewhere new.

5. Take a Class

Taking a class or asking someone to teach you is such a courageous thing to do. It will bring fresh perspectives to your current challenges and is a great way to get feedback from other professionals interested in learning and growing. If you want to get started generating new ideas with your team and creating lightweight experiments, we suggest our From Ideas to Action course.

Courageous doing is central to creative confidence—the essential self-assurance that you can move forward and bring new innovations to life. Like any endeavor, creative confidence won’t come overnight. But if you start doing and put yourself out there, gradually you’ll learn and your confidence will grow.


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