IDEO Founder David Kelley: How to Unlock Your Creativity (VIDEO)

[ 0 ] June 30, 2011 |

Watch David Kelley at the 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival spend ‘2.5 Minutes With genConnect.’ We connected with the entrepreneur, educator, designer and IDEO founder.

Click the play button below to watch genConnect CEO Nancy Spears interview Kelley on how kids lose their creativity and how they can rediscover it:

[kaltura-widget uiconfid=”535″ entryid=”0_p6o3u0ni” width=”540″ height=”435″ addpermission=”” editpermission=”” /]

DAVID KELLEY: Well, I do the same thing in both places. I’m really just trying to help people unlock their creativity. And so I say the same thing at IDEO that I do at Stanford, which is, help them unlock that feeling.

NANCY SPEARS: So what kind of information or skill sets or tools can you give to people to help them actually find their creative intuition?

DAVID KELLEY: Well, it’s really a mindset. It’s a mindset that you can do things. We say it’s a bias towards action, that instead of sitting around and planning and sitting with your piece of paper and writing a list and stuff, just go out and do something. Create a prototype, or go talk to somebody who’s in the field that you’re interested in. And build on that and continue iteratively trying new things all the time. So it’s a bias towards that action of doing things.

NANCY SPEARS: Fantastic. And so the creative is there in all of us, right?

DAVID KELLEY: Yeah. I think if– just look at kindergarten kids. They’re wildly creative. No problem jumping to a new place. And what happens, I think, is at somewhere along the way, young kids opt out of being creative. It’s like you say, I’m not athletic. And then when you go out on the playground, nobody’s judging you anymore. Because you’ve said, I’m not athletic, and you don’t have to measure up. It’s the same thing with being creative. They say a teacher told them their drawing wasn’t very nice, and so they get disappointed and they opt out and they say, I’m not creative.

But we know from– in different places, I do a lot of work with K-12. And at the university level, we know that, although they may say, I’m not creative, if we give them an experience where they surprise themselves with how creative they really are, it comes out again. They come back and they start to build that creative confidence again. And I’ve got lots of videotape of students crying, saying, I always wanted to be creative person, and now I feel like I’m a creative person. It’s great.

NANCY SPEARS: Are there any specific tips that you can give to parents to help them help their children find their own creativity?

DAVID KELLEY: It’s about having an open mindset. So the thing to do with kids is to encourage them to do projects, instead of just doing their homework or just being on the computer. Give them a project outside of school. We see kids that are working on a solar car, or all that robotics competition things, or just a project to redesign a fence in the backyard. That surprises them in how well it comes out, usually.

NANCY SPEARS: That’s so interesting. I know– even LEGOs, for example.

DAVID KELLEY: Perfect. No, LEGOs– if I correlated people who are admitted to my program and how much they play with LEGOs as a child, there’s probably a great correlation.

NANCY SPEARS: That would be an interesting thing to do, maybe. Well, you’re certainly paving the way for the future of design, truly, by helping people access their own creativity.

DAVID KELLEY: One of the things we can do is– people think being creative’s God-given. Like, I have that gene or I don’t. And it’s really not true. Whatever level you have of natural talent, we can raise it a lot by helping people with giving them the right kind of fertilizer and sunshine. And basically giving them a methodology, a way of going about being creative. And then they become mindful of that, and every time they do a project, they just get better at it.

Because if you just think an angel’s going to appear and give you the big idea, how do you work on that? Whereas if you have a methodology, and you say, oh, here’s how I’m going to do that, I’m going to build prototypes, or I’m going to go talk to experts, or I’m going to go follow people around who want to use the bicycle I’m trying to design– and if you start to see that that works, then you learn techniques and you improve and you improve and you improve. But if you’re just waiting for a muse to inspire you, it’s a problem.

NANCY SPEARS: Right. Action is where it’s at, right? Well, thank you for all the great work you’re doing. And I’m very blessed to meet you.

David is recognized as one of America’s leading design innovators. David’s brain-child, IDEO, has become the go-to firm for both American and foreign companies looking to cure their innovation anemia. IDEO (pronounced “eye-dee-oh”) is an award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centered, design-based approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow. David’s creative thinking in creating IDEO has not gone unnoticed. He has won the Edison Achievement Award for Innovation, as well as the Chrysler Design Award and National Design Award in Product Design from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Click here to watch Part 2 of our interview with David Kelley on creativity and collaboration at work

genConnect is credentialed press at the 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo., where we are interviewing the premier speakers and attendees at the conference. For more of our video interviews and articles from the Ideas Festival, click here.

Sign up for and automatically be entered to win a trip to Aspen! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@genConnected) for additional Ideas Festival coverage (#AspenIdeas).

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Film, Music and Entertainment, Lifestyle, Videos, Views on the News

Profile photo of David Kelley

About David Kelley: David, founder and chairman of IDEO, is a California-based entrepreneur, educator, designer, and venture capitalist. He is recognized as one of America’s leading design innovators, in part thanks to his membership in the National Academy [...]
View author profile.

Comments are closed.

Skip to toolbar