All are creative. You just need a push.
People expect creativity from only artists, designers or geniuses. But that’s not true. Some people communicate their creativity well, and the others are not able to communicate. Everyone has a creative side to them. Possibles reasons of not letting it out can be less motivation, less creative confidence and lack of awareness(that we can think creatively). Here is a small attempt from me, which compiles 20 possible things which might boost and nurture your creative confidence, to explore your creative side. It is for one and all, irrespective of their professions.
All these points are from my influences, experiences & from my point of view. These things include games, tasks/assignments, habits or policies which need to be incorporated in your life or organisation. There might be more, which can help you boost your creative confidence. Feel free to mention that in the responses below.
So, here we go:
1. Play the 30 Circle Challenge ✍🏻
Ask people to visualise and draw different recognisable objects, in those circles, in not more than 3 minutes. Do it everyday, it’s fun. You will understand your potential when you are given constraints. Are you a rule breaker or are the rule follower? One can get unique insights about themselves, as well as, your team members also.
A wall at your workplace
A wall which has this 30 circles printed/engraved and everyday anyone of you can sketch on it and change it for the other day. Play around on this glass writing board, so you can have your creative juices flowing. Can have some kind of fun games around it at your informal interaction spaces, with your team members.
The image is a reference here, which can have 30 plain circles printed or engraved onto the glass, which can be explored for sketching or drawing.
2. What is? What if? and What wows? 🧠
Brainstorm on different possibilities of how existing solutions can have a different way of solving that issue, in a more better and quick way, maybe. And this need not be a solution or screens. It is just raw sketchy brainstroming or a desktop study and have a discussion with your team members or other designers. Example take BookMyShow, and brainstorm on it for 15 mins, in a group of 5, what is, what if and what may wow the users while using this app.
- What is – basically what is the existing solution
- What if – What do you think of a different way of solving the same problem?
- What wows – What is the kickass feature, which you think with excite your users, while completing their task?
3. Let’s Venture out 🧭
Take examples of top companies and explore with the Ansoff matrix diagram by identifying their ventures, and you can brainstorm if you think of new ventures possibly for that company. Like example see the image below for the Ansoff Matrix applied to Amazon and it’s different ventures which they have penetrated into. The risk factor increases as you diagonally go up from Market penetration to Industry disruption.
It can be a session, where you can take your company as an example, of how your company can venture out into new directions and increase the landscape of your scope. Take examples of famous companies, like Apple, Adobe, Tesla, etc, to know their strategic movements & get better insights. Ventures are nothing but possibilities, and exploring the possibilities, adds up to your confidence levels.
For more info on Ansoff matrix and Venture Design, take this online course by Ethan Imboden on LinkedIn, shown below. It is quite insightful and interesting. Do have a look.
4. Think out loud 📢
Make it a habit, to talk out loud when you are part of any good or bad experience. This helps you to become a keen observer and a good critic. End of the day, it boosts your confidence of speaking out and trying to make things better.
Everyday take one experience (online or offline, it doesn’t matter), and ask your team members one by one to think out loud(it can be anything from the intent till the color of the interface, too) while experiencing it. Very key for the growth of critical thinking skills.
5. Swap roles. Encourages empathy. 🔁
Swap roles for 15 minutes with any other professional, like a developer(for example), and think like him to give 2 good ideas which would improve his/her workflow. Empathy should come first within your team, to achieve greater goals. This encourages communication, which builds trust with your team members, which eventually creates confidence for all.
Doing this, people might understand better their pain points and fears(if any), and work towards solving or overcoming it, as a team.
6. Mind-mapping 🕸
Scribble out and do a rough mind mapping thing to explore your thinking and imagination capabilities. Your imagination horizons should be at continuous practise. This improves your psychological thinking and having empathy towards your users, which is a key skill for anyone who wants to build a great experience for their people.
Mind mapping is an intuitive way to organise your thoughts.
7. Think tank 📝
Raw ideas are like dreams. It comes and goes, you forget like anything. Document it in one journal and develop it as pet projects for future. Good ideas quickly need to have some initial validations. Share it with valuable content of social platforms to get better validations or feedback, for later iterations.
8. Contribute to the protégé effect 👩🏫👨🏫
‘Teaching someone else is the best way to learn, according to research’.
So, once in a week, give a half hour session/talk of your choice of topic and let your team gather and listen out and give their valuable constructive feedback and lots of appreciation, too. Because that’s what keeps you going and inspires you to do more.
This increases self-efficacy in individuals. Self-efficacy is, according to psychologist Albert Bandura, who originally proposed the concept, a personal judgment of “how well one can execute courses of action required to deal with prospective situations”.
Know more about the benefits of Protege effect here
9. Nickname warm up 😎
Play this quirky game of nicknames with your teammates. There are 2 ways to do this :
The anonymous way
One way can be anonymous, by putting chits with the names of your teammates and asking everyone to pick. Write their nicknames next to the name and submit the chit. Voting can be done to give a more better validated nickname by majority of the team. More participation, more fun and flattens the hierarchy.
The Think-out-loud way
The other way is think out loud, and voting on the best, by not keeping it anonymous. In my POV, this way is better, as discussions are open and transparent. Nicknames can be fun like Mr. Big head, Ms. Know-it-all, Genie, Mr CEO, Ms Blogger, etc.
Note : While coming up with names, know what that person is good at(one best quality), like a guitarist, good swimmer, nice presenter, a nice painter, etc. And finally based on these clues, you can brainstorm on the nicknames.
10. Introduce Value metrics in your work culture 🏅
Start evaluating and promoting people on the base of value they add.
How? (one of the way)
- Value can be saving money. How much?
- Value can be saving time. How much?
- Value can be satisfaction ratings of the user, while using your solution. How much(out of 10 maybe)?
- Value can be impact created in any of the above parameters
- And finally value can be genuine direct user feedback.
So start measuring people on the value(it is definitely measurable) which they bring to the table and to people’s life. So how cool it would be if we create an environment where people are recognised on value metric numbers, not just by their experience.
Some policies need to be redefined. But it will definitely create confidence and encourage people to design and work for impact & value. And that’s the long term infinite game we all should be playing.
11. Remove fears in your team 🚫😨
Don’t fear anything, as when you face your fear one day, that will be the most blissful moment of your life. Firstly watch video to get an insight from Will Smith’s sky diving experience, where he talks about the day before the dive, how he felt. Must watch.
What Leaders can do?
Every leader should have frequent one on one sessions with their teammates and figure out what they are good at and what they fear of, which is stopping them from being productive. And your responsibility is to try to remove those fears in them. Removing this fear does not happen overnight. A technique called ‘Guided mastery’, coined by Albert Bandura(one of the greatest living psychologists), is helpful to overcome any fears in life.
Let’s see some example
For example, if you fear ‘Judgement of others on social networking platforms’. Possible ‘Guided Mastery’ steps from my POV to overcome this fear is
Step 1 : Follow people who are not afraid of judgement.
Step 2 : Observe & Learn from their thought process.
Step 3 : Attend sessions or talks of motivational speakers or experts in this field
Step 4 : Try putting out valuable content, and listen closely to your comments(good and bad)
Step 5 : Take constructive criticism and move on.
Have a look at this video of David Kelley from IDEO, who explains the guided mastery technique, in his own words and from his experience.
Know more here.
12. Give the credit to them🍹
This quality in many leaders who are successful, has worked like a motivation factor for the team and as well as the organisation, as a whole. Leaders taking credits(like a one man show), does not work in teams. A small recognition in the terms of credit, incentive, reward, promotion or just a pat on the back, works wonders in boosting creative confidence.
13. Find ways of self exposure 🤩
Try to make yourself visible and relevant.
How do you make yourself visible & relevant?
By creating valuable exposure for yourself. Thanks to the different social media platforms which are easily available to create this exposure at scale. Create content which is valuable for your audience and help them in whichever way possible. Find out the different ways of communication you are good at, it can be writing, video-making, podcasts, memes, cartoons, caricatures , gifs, etc., and use it to communicate your valuable content out there. LinkedIn is one of a great platform now to make yourself visible, relevant and build your brand.
Have a look at this video below, where Gary V, talks about how LinkedIn is right now living the 2011 Facebook moment and why LinkedIn is totally relevant for us now.
14. Have some pet projects 👨💻
A wise man once told me
“It’s not what you do between 9 to 5, that makes you, it’s what you do after that.”
Try to do more of side hustle regarding your work, which makes your portfolio and boosts creative confidence in you. Any new findings, share it with your known designer friends or colleagues, to gather constructive feedback which will make you outgrow yourself.
As mentioned above, take out one good idea, from your think tank journal, and start working on it.
15. Embrace Failures 😇
We need to redefine failures to learnings. People need to be given that flexibility of quickly failing and moving on with the learnings. Don’t use the blame game to justify failures. Have an open minded culture, where failures are not frowned upon.
“Happily Fail in it, until you finally nail it.”
16. Learn a creative skill outside your comfort zone 👩🎨
When you are out of your comfort zone, and you keep exploring, there are points of achievements in this explorations.
This explorations in new fields, is called as Creative Cross Training. Check out this blog below, where Author, Srinivas Rao explains “The Power of Creative Cross Training: How Experimentation Creates Possibility”.
The Power of Creative Cross Training: How Experimentation Creates Possibility
For most creative professionals, we have a tendency to live within the limitations of our labels: copywriter, web…
Exploring a new pet skill has its own benefits : encourages open minded approach, you will meet failures(which is good, as mentioned in the above point 15), you embrace new POVs, get fresh ideas and it boosts your creative landscape and confidence.
Listen to Matt Cutts, why to try a new skill for the next 30 days and it’s benefits.
17. Play your favourite sport daily 🏏
Playing a sport improves your fitness and also keeps you active. It has a positive impact on your professional (work ethics) and personal life. It is suggestive, that one should have keystone habits.
What is Keystone habits?
Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, coined the term “keystone habits” to describe positive habits that have a strong correlation with other positive habits — like a ripple effect of positivity. For example, exercising regularly has been proven to increase confidence levels and lead to healthier eating and sleeping habits. When you adopt keystone habits, a lot of other things in your life tend to fall into place. Source.
18. Micro manage in some key areas 💁♀️
Micro managing is a bad thing for productivity you would say. Yes, definitely I agree with you. It hits your productivity massively and your confidence and trust level decrease with your leader/manager. But there are different areas, where micro management can be done responsibly & effectively.
What has happened in the past few years is that, most of the open-minded managers understood the negative impacts of micro management and have totally given up on it. That itself is a problem. You need to micro manage with your employees, not for work, but for other psychological & mental state of things.
Where to micro manage?
– Is that person happy in the project?
– Is that person having any issues with other team member/s?
– If that person is unable to deliver work, what went wrong personally or professionally, both?
– Ask that person, how would they like to rate their manager/leader and get points of improvements from them.
– What is that person’s expectations or preferences from the next project?
And so on…
It is no surprise that the number one reason employees leave their companies, is due to ineffective managers. Leaders need to stand as a support system and should act as a catalyst in the growth of their people.
Micro management should be done on the right stuff, not particularly on their work. If you take care of the emotional and mental state of mind of your employee, then great work is bound to happen(great work is the by product of such positive ecosystem).
19. Tell a story in 6 words 🎤
To understand one of the key concepts of effective communication & content, ie, KISS(Keep it Simple & Short), this task or exercise can be an interesting one to explore. To start of, you can take examples of famous movies and summarise them in not more than 6 words.
Like some examples
Avatar : ‘A new world named Pandora, exists’.
Titanic : ‘Love story on a drowning ship’.
Baahubali : ‘Good & evil, portrayed by brothers’.
Can definitely brainstorm more, but it’s more important, how to give it a try, in the first place. Try it out with your team, it’s fun(do have a time limit).
For more inspiration have a look at this Instagram page of surprisinglyshortstories, where stories are told in short paragraph formats. This exercise will boost your content writing skill in the long run.
20. Symbols of play at your workplace 👍🏻
This is for the leaders and organizations specifically, to create an environment, which encourages playfulness. Because through playfulness, comes friendships, trust, interactions and breaking the ice, which eventually leads to a space, where you feel confident to express yourself freely.
Facts say that
82% of the employees agree that companies cannot encourage innovation, unless their workplace design and environment is innovative.
where ‘symbols of play’ in workplaces are built for their people :
The bottom line is, in any profession you may be, boosting your creative side, is key to generate maximum productivity in yourself. End of the day, a cool and pleasant state of mind will be able to produce positive impact for the company and as well as the people.
Thanks for your time
If you have any things/tasks/games/ideas, which you think is good to boost one’s creative confidence, do write it and share in the responses below. Would love to hear them.