Creative Confidence Series: David Kelley on Leading for Creativity


“The trick is building a culture of experimentation. Then by definition, if you’re not failing some of the time, you’re not doing an experiment."

- David Kelley, IDEO Founder & Chairman

We sat down with IDEO Founder & Chairman David Kelley to hear his insights on how to empower employees and instill creative confidence throughout a team or organization.

(1:42) Early leadership: David's first memory of leading a team, Kelley's Kegler's.

(5:03) Course overview: Introduction to IDEO U's Leading for Creativity course taught by IDEO CEO Tim Brown. 

(9:21) Leadership style: David's original mentor, Bob McKim, helped him cultivate a differentiated leadership style. 

(14:37) Mentorship: The importance of mentorship in IDEO culture.

(17:00) Double deliver: Present alternative solutions to company leadership by completing projects in two ways—the way the organization expects and the more human-centered iterative way.

(20:47) Changing mindsets: Shift the mindset toward experimentation where you can quickly adapt and go in the direction of what's working.

(25:36) Experimenting: Create a workspace open to failure by building a culture of experimentation.

(31:06) Shifting culture: If you only have the bottom up approach, you have to find a way to create some extraordinary solutions to problems that just can’t be ignored.

(36:32) Generation gaps: Bridging the gap between millennials and older generations.

(43:06) Hiring: How to hire people who can work in this new form of leadership. 

Learn the methods David discusses and take your team to new territory in our Leading for Creativity online course.

Self-Paced Courses:

Hello Design Thinking

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(Now in Spanish)


Power of Purpose

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Unlocking Creativity

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From Superpowers to Great Teams

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Prototyping for Digital Experiences

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Upcoming Courses:

Insights for Innovation

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From Ideas to Action

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Designing Strategy

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Cultivating Creative Collaboration

Starts February 27


Storytelling for Influence

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Leading for Creativity

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Designing a Business

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Human-Centered Service Design

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Designing for Change

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