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As young children, we’re all creative. We draw, sing, build, and dream. Yet somewhere along the way – due to the influence of others or our own insecurity – many of us put down these creative instincts. Together with IDEO and our partners – and in celebration of Tom and David Kelley's new book, Creative Confidence – we’re asking the OpenIDEO community to design fun, inspiring and new ways to help teenagers and young adults around the world preserve and nurture their own creative confidence. At a time when our world faces unprecedented challenges, how might we ensure that young people practice their creative confidence today so that they have a shot at becoming successful leaders tomorrow?

Setting the Stage

It’s safe to say that at some point each of us has suffered from a crisis of confidence. In the office, in the classroom or in front of an audience – we’ve all experienced that moment when it feels like everyone around us is smarter, faster, better. Where does that insecurity come from and what can we do to combat it? 
At its core, creative confidence is the ability to come up with new ideas and the courage to try them out. As children, each of us had a certain level of our own creative confidence baked into our identities and behaviours. Unfortunately, many of us have since lost it or pushed it away – fearing that either we weren’t any good at being creative or that someone else was better. Maybe it was a parent who pushed you to focus on math or science instead of art. Maybe it was a classmate who laughed at your off-the-wall idea. Maybe it was your own fear of failure, or fear of being judged by others, that stopped you before you even tried. Whatever the cause, that moment – the point in time when a child or teenager chooses to either sweep aside his or her own creative potential or recommit to nurturing it – is what our challenge is all about. 
How might we inspire and support teens and young adults to continue practicing and to preserve their creative confidence? How might we anticipate that pivotal moment when a young person is faced with a crisis of creative confidence and help them navigate successfully to the other side? And if creative confidence is like a muscle that can be strengthened and nurtured through effort and experience, how might we encourage young people to flex these muscles, hone these skills and carry their creative confidence proudly with them in school and in life?

For more information, check out the Guiding Principles for this challenge.

About Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Confidence Within Us All

Creativity lies at the heart of innovation – without creativity, we can’t design new ideas, tools or solutions to meet our world’s most pressing challenges. In their new book Creative Confidence, brothers  Tom Kelley (bestselling author and partner at IDEO) and  David Kelley (founder of IDEO and Stanford’s unpack what creative confidence is, why it’s important for innovation and what each of us can do to unleash our own creative potential. 
Throughout this challenge, you’ll see references to Tom and David's book, as well as receive early access to select chapters, exercises and worksheets to push our community conversations and thinking further. While our challenge is focused on creative confidence in young people, our hope is that everyone who participates will feel inspired to seize their own creative potential and use it to drive innovation in their work, their education and their lives. 

What Will It Mean to 'Win' in This Challenge?

As with all OpenIDEO challenges, there are many reasons to participate and many things you'll gain by participating in our Creative Confidence Challenge – regardless of whether your idea wins. With that said, the winning ideas in this challenge will represent submissions that best answer our challenge question, that excite and energise our community and that address our sponsor's and partners' goals. As the challenge unfolds we'll share more about these goals so you know where we're headed.
No matter the end result, we encourage everyone to take your ideas forward on your own or to collaborate with your network to implement them. On OpenIDEO we strive to be a place where good ideas gain momentum – both from the community and from our sponsors and partners. For more information, visit our About Us and How It Works pages.

About Our Sponsor

IDEO is an award-winning global design and innovation consultancy. We create positive impact through design by taking a human-centered approach to helping organisations in the public and private sectors innovate, grow, and bring to market new ideas.
Challenge Partners:
The is a hub for innovators at Stanford. In a time when there is hunger for innovation everywhere, we think our primary responsibility is to help prepare a generation of students to rise with the challenges of our times. We define what it means to be a student broadly, and we support “students” of design thinking who range from kindergarteners to senior executives. Learn more.


YMCA of Silicon Valley is a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Their mission is to strengthen our community by improving the quality of life and inspiring individuals and families to develop their fullest potential in spirit, mind and body. Learn more.

Community Cross-Pollinator

  Meena Kadri

Challenge Community Champion

  Hao Dinh

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