Wednesday, August 30, 2017

David Kelley, IDEO, Creative Confidence (and a welcome bear hug from someone I'd never met before)

Below, are examples of two projects that could have pushed me away from designing, or deeper into something that agreed with what the client was seeking, depending on how I chose to interpret their reactions...

I created this feathered duster for a client, inspired by burlesque dancers.  I loved it.  The client?  Not so much at first.  This was version #1 of quite a few tries.
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Recently, I shared a blog post about this bolero, the process of designing and making it, and what happened next.  This story fits within the context of a talk I attended recently.  Read on, and go back to that blog post, if you're curious.

In many cities around the world, there are events where very interesting/influential/smart speakers talk to an intimate crowd at gathering events hosted by Creative Mornings.  In New York City, these events are EXTREMELY popular, and registering for any of them  (free!) requires amazingly fast fingers.

The last one I attended was a wonderful talk, given by Seth Godin last year, which was fabulous.

With the help of a close friend, who knew to try multiple browsers to increase our chance of attending, we were able to score 2 of the 600 tickets to the talk given by David Kelley last Friday (May 16th).  

Who is David Kelley?  Well, think Steve Jobs.  You know who that is, right?  Follow the highlighted text for an explanation.  I can't force it down into a quick sentence.

Okay, so... Why should I care?  Again, I ask you to click, unless you already get it, and don't need further explanation.

I arrived 30 minutes early, grabbed some lovely pastries and coffee in the waiting area, and lingered with the quiet crowd, talking to a few interesting creatives, mere steps away from David Kelley, who hung out among us, but whose attention seemed to be fully absorbed in one particularly intense conversation. I wanted to compliment his boldly unusual choice of shoelaces (a shock of an orangey-neutral accent that presented the perfect surprise against an otherwise sedate outfit), but it just didn't seem the time. With an ENORMOUS wait list crowd that packed the sidewalk outside of the school amphitheater, we all took our seats, and listened to his talk. You might want to check out his TED talk, which was quite similar to the talk he gave to us in that space last week, but a bit less of a lecture, and more like a conversation.

You know how people say "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt?"  Well, had there been a T-shirt for sale at the event, I would have bought one. At this point, I have attended the Creative Morning event, watched the TED talk, and bought the book.  Frankly,  if there had been Kool-Aid served at the event, I might have taken a sip. Reading the book now, I can see that the ideas he presents are applicable in just about all professions and circumstances. 

So, what's my point here?

The book, his school, and his mission are all about Creative Confidence, which is basically "design thinking" as a tool for innovation.  I'd have to write a book of my own to explain it all here in a few sentences, so I'll send you to the source:

Seriously, you'd be better off reading the book to get where I'm going with this, but here's how it applies to your own (our our collective) creative journey.

  • Involve your (or someone else's!) kids

  • Practice empathy in design.  Understand what the challenges are, seek to resolve or minimize them.

  • Get other people involved.

  • Think outside of the box.

After the talk, did I stay to talk to David Kelley?  No, I did not.  I stopped to talk to the NY organizer of these events to give her a personal "thank you" for achieving the Herculean task of organizing events like these, which she reciprocated with a big, warm, impromptu bear hug. (This was a particularly sweet gesture on a day that happened to also be my birthday!)


  1. Happy Birthday Mimi!
    Glad to see your posting more often and I enjoy the post. I am a huge fan of the Ted Talks. I am so reading a new book about confidence called the confidence code very interesting, I will probably write about that myself on my blog soon. take care

    1. Thank you, Toy! I'd love to read what you do write about it after you've read it!

  2. I too am a fan of the Ted Talks, but even more, I am a huge fan of Mimi--you are awesome! I truly appreciate your blog, and all the time you devote to sharing your sewing/design/insights/thoughts in your blog. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much! That is absolutely the sweetest and most wonderful thing anyone has said to me about this blog! Thank you! ((Bear hug))


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