Everyone Can Have "Creative Confidence," say IDEO’s David Kelley and Tom Kelley

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IDEO’s David Kelley and Tom Kelley have news for you in their latest book: you don’t have to be a designer to have “Creative Confidence.” Hear them talk entertainingly about using design-thinking to create great “user-experience” and much more, here.

IDEO’s David Kelley and his brother and business partner Tom Kelley lit up a large audience at Art Center College of Design last week, when they came to share the lessons of their book, Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. (Photos above are by John Dlugolecki; David Kelley sits stage right.)

The timing of the talk — right in the middle of the troubled rollout of Healthcare Dot Gov — gave a broader context for a fascinating conversation about creativity, human-centered design and what makes for a great “user experience” of a product, a service or a web site.

I had been invited to interview them on stage and have to confess I was initially leery of yet another book promising to “unleash” creativity.

But it was impossible not to be won over by the charms and clever insights of both the book and the brothers. With their monks’ hairdos, bristling moustaches, beaming eyes, and fast-paced, funny, tag-talking, they came across like a fusion of the Thompson (and Thomson) twins, Click and Clack from Car Talk, with a dash of Marx Brothers thrown in.

The main thrust of their argument was that everyone is creative, though most of us have buried it over time, and that creativity takes many forms, from to the head of the ICU at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London who realized he could improve outcomes for patients by applying the techniques of Formula 1 pit crews to shy young Indian engineers at d.school who learned to talk to potential customers and apply empathic design thinking to the creation of Pulse, the uber-successful news-reading App for the iPad.

The bottom line, in their view, is that this is an amazing time for designers, who have moved from the sidelines to the center of many corporations (even though they acknowledged that the new, democratized, web-based economy has also created challenges for creatives competing to monetize ideas), and that it is never too late to transform ones business or life with “design-thinking.”

Listen to this excerpt from the talk at Art Center, which was sponsored by Live Talks Los Angeles.