A perception held by many is that creativity and artistic ability are gifts inherited by the lucky ones, and you either have it or you don’t. Each doodle, brush stroke, and art project I completed in my own youth seemed innately inspired by my mother, a visual artist. As I watched my two older brothers become artists themselves—one a glass blower/ceramicist and the other a writer—my assumptions about art and creativity strengthened. In my mind, artists were the holders of creativity, and the artistic gene was familial.
Through the Health for America (HFA) at MedStar Health fellowship, I have had the chance to reflect anew on the difference between art and creativity and have realized that there is an aspect of creativity in every idea we generate.
On the third Friday of each month, my co-fellow Renee and I have HFA Curriculum Days. We spend the day exploring resources and engaging in learning related to one of the four pillars of the fellowship—health, design, entrepreneurship and leadership. During last month’s curriculum day, I stumbled upon Tom and David Kelley’s book Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. David is the founder of IDEO, a human-centered design firm and Tom is a partner at the firm.
While Renee and I have studied and incorporated IDEO’s concepts of human-centered design into our fellowship work, the concept of creative confidence was new to me. The book sets out to debunk “the creativity myth” which states that individuals (myself included) often equate creativity to artistic skills and/or career fields. As noted in the book, creativity is not tied to a specific career or to a position within an organization. It is a way of thinking, brainstorming, problem solving, and innovating.
Finding Your Creative Confidence
If creativity is a driving force behind ideas and solutions…aren’t we all creative?
The short answer is “yes”
The long answer is “yes, but we sometimes lose our creative confidence”
In this book, the authors coined the term “creative confidence.” In its simplest definition, creative confidence is the belief that each of us is inherently creative. Like most skills, building up your creative confidence takes time, practice, and is a combination of individual and team efforts.
Throughout the book, readers are given case studies, tips and techniques to help build up their creative confidence and ultimately become creatively bold in the workplace. Chapter 7 details the story of how Procter & Gamble incorporated innovation into its company and culture. In this case study, we learn the importance of storytelling, prototyping, and organizational-wide design training in innovation and creative confidence.
Creativity in Telehealth
As the authors also point out, creativity “lies at the heart of innovation.” Through my fellowship work with the MedStar Telehealth Innovation Center, I have learned that creativity lies within every aspect of a telehealth implementation. Whether we are brainstorming potential virtual care models or navigating the ways our telehealth solution will impact patient care and provider workflow, we must be creative as a team. Through the team’s guidance and mentorship, I have gained a better understanding of how to incorporate principles of creativity, human-centered design, and innovation into our work.