Practice Creativity to Inspire Creativity
Creativity, according to dictionary.com, is the “ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.” Creativity generates jobs, drives economic growth, and forges new industries. It’s a highly regarded skill, but often only attributed to entrepreneurs, innovators, and change makers.
A creative-minded team of brothers, David and Tom Kelley, would like to change that perception. David is the founder of the Stanford d.school and the well-known design firm IDEO, where Tom is a partner. They are authors of the book Creative Confidence, written in part “to help individuals and organizations unleash their full potential – and build their own creative confidence.” The Kelleys argue that everyone has a creative side, even those who claim not to, but not everyone has the courage to be creative. They believe that creativity can be nurtured and mastered, but that we are constrained by the fear of failing.
In the book, the Kelleys share a story about students in a pottery class who were divided into two equal groups. The first group was told they would be evaluated on the quality of a single clay pot at the end of the session, while the other group was told their evaluation would be based on the total number of pots they created. The students in the first group labored and researched to craft a single perfect pot. The students in the second group quickly crafted pot after pot after pot. At the end of the class, “the best pieces all came from the students whose goal was quantity, the ones who had spent the most time actually practicing their craft.”
Our takeaway from this tale is simply to get started. Create, create again, make a change, and create again…even if you fear you might not be ready. The authors recommend building a high tolerance for failure. They write, “If you want more success you have to be prepared to shrug off more failure.” The book emphasizes prototyping, iterating, getting user feedback early and frequently, and focusing on the people you are trying to help. InspiringApps believes in the practice of iterations and frequent user feedback. We’ve been following these principles in our work with customers for many years based on Eric Reis’ advice in Lean Startup. But we wanted to increase our focus on the people we are trying to help, in more creative ways, with the mobile apps we build. One way we decided we could better embrace our creative side was to change the way we complete our discovery process.
A discovery session is the first step in our development process, and it aims to understand the product vision through detailed discussions about the client’s idea and objectives. These sessions are typically led by a project manager and a designer. In a recent session, however, we chose to share the responsibility among the many talented people on our team. We held a discovery session for a client with five people on our team with varied backgrounds, skills, and experience. By tapping into the power of that diversity, we were able to come up with a creative solution that met our client’s objectives – a solution that likely would not have surfaced with only one or two people in the room. Instead of asking only our designers to handle what could be seen as the creative process, we shared that work and the outcome was better. By using the main principle from Creative Confidence, that everyone can be creative, our end result was stronger.
We are also interested in, and look forward to, using other tools in the book, specifically the tools that will help us to take action and craft our first of many clay pots. The authors state that creative people act upon their ideas to make them come to life and suggest some “action catalysts” such as:
Get help. Find someone to share the load and see what that person comes up with. We did this by including some team members not typically involved at the beginning of the process.
Gather an audience. Find someone to listen and speak your ideas out loud to get the creativity flowing. By having a bigger audience for our discovery process, the creativity flowed for much longer. Our scheduled 90-minute meeting stretched for an extra hour because we had so many good ideas to discuss.
Lower the stakes. Creativity halts when you believe that a decision is “so important that everything hinges on it.” Discuss as many ideas, good and bad, to spark new ones.
Creative Confidence also includes tips for sparking creativity when the ideas aren’t coming. These tips include empathizing with the end user, conducting field observations, and asking a series of “why” questions.
This book affirmed our belief that taking action early and iterating often is the key to high quality. Having opportunities to refine and make adjustments is far better than pouring everything into the “one shot” that success is riding on. The book also helped reinforce the fact that everyone on our team is creative and brings unique perspective to challenges we face. Tackling a new challenge with a diverse group of talented individuals is not only fun, it produces better results.
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With technology and a collaborative spirit, a meaningful new brand is born. BOULDER, CO -- After nearly a decade and a half of the same look and feel, InspiringApps is glowing up–and it only took pivot to remote work for inspiration to strike. The company, an industry-leading web and mobile app and software solutions group headquartered in Boulder, officially launched an innovative new brand and website encompassing its roots and plans for the future. A Collaborative Innovation While some companies struggled to work collaboratively and adjust to the new reality of remote teams, the InspiringApps team took on the massive challenge to become more cohesive than before. “Emerging from over a year of pandemic isolation and recognizing that InspiringApps had used the same branding for over a decade, it was the perfect time for a change. Our teams are doing amazing work for start-ups and huge enterprises alike. I welcomed a fresh perspective on our logo and color schemes,” Brad Weber, founder and president of InspiringApps shared. InspiringApps’ new logo reflects the company’s collaborative nature, combining efforts from our UI/UX and marketing teams. “We collaborated a lot remotely; we had Slack open, cameras on, and worked from shared Adobe XD artboards, moving elements around while we discussed them. It was a powerful way to leverage technology for a smoother, more collaborative process,” Becca Collins, UI/UX designer, explains. “Somehow, working remotely with shared screens produced even better results than we could have achieved if we were in the same office,” Aaron Lea, Art Director, noted. A Meaningful Brand The team started with a concept that encapsulated the InspiringApps foundation: the original location in Boulder, Colorado, the code that developers use to build web and mobile apps, and the core values the team holds at the center of everything they do. Designers visually translated these elements into three simplified shapes: a triangle to encompass the mountainous Flatirons of Boulder, and a semicolon and less-than symbol representing code. Designers merged the three symbols into an abstract I and A–the company’s abbreviated initials–for a unique and meaningful new logo. Although the company leads with intentional design with clients, rapid growth brought an increased demand for the services and little time for internal branding. For several years, the original design established the InspiringApps brand, but that logo had limitations. “The logo served us well initially, but it was hard to work with. It was time for a change,” Aaron said. A newly designed dynamic website accompanied the brand’s unveiling. On the new site, visitors can find valuable resources and downloads, case studies, and advice for companies considering a mobile or web app. The site also includes case studies from past clients to inspire new ideas. “Our goal is to provide a design and web experience that reflects our mission and core values. We’re committed to putting just as much care and intention into your project as we did with our own,” Brad shared.
9 days ago
Extensive experience with startups and enterprises encourages success in the role Boulder, CO – InspiringApps, a premier app design and development provider, announces the addition of Jonathan Laramy to the senior management team as Director of Sales. Jonathan will plan and execute InspiringApps’ sales strategy and continue the company’s steady growth with a focus on enterprise clients. Jonathan has deep experience navigating complex sales cycles with multiple project owners at all levels of the organization. With a successful history of establishing and nurturing long-term relationships with strategic customers, Jonathan brings loyalty, integrity, and transparency to the InspiringApps organization. “InspiringApps has enjoyed steady organic growth for years. I’m excited that Jonathan will help to accelerate that growth, especially with enterprise customers, which has been the source of much of our new business in recent years. Jonathan’s style and approach to sales are very much aligned with our practices at InspiringApps,” Brad Weber, president and CEO of InspiringApps, said. “App development has so much potential to improve customer experiences and help companies communicate better with their teams. I’m honored to be a part of InspiringApps, and looking forward to bringing innovative solutions to more enterprise companies,” Jonathan said. Jonathan’s experience spans various industries, including retail, manufacturing, on-demand services, real estate, property management, and music. Jonathan launched his career as a key sales manager at Move.com, one of the most successful dotcom companies of the early 2000s, and has enjoyed a successful career in sales in more than a half-dozen companies. About InspiringApps InspiringApps is a web and mobile app design and development company that crafts beautiful and engaging apps that inspire how people live, work, and play. With over 13 years in business and experience building hundreds of mobile and web apps for top global brands and startups alike, InspiringApps helps transform organizations and consumer experiences. Contact: Stephanie MikulsMarketing DirectorInspiringAppsBoulder, COstephanie@InspiringApps.comwww.InspiringApps.com
2 months ago