CE#651: The No. 1 Enemy of Creativity: Fear of Failure (HBR Blog Network)

by Peter Sims

Never once in my life until my mid 30s did anyone ever (to the best of my recollection) call me “creative.” But now, I hear it all the time.

So what happened?

Well, after a traditional education, business school, and five years working in strategy consulting and venture capital, I went to a cocktail reception at Stanford’s d.school, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, where I met George Kembel, cofounder and executive director of the school. While I cannot remember one thing that we discussed, I do remember laughing for about 40 minutes straight as we riffed on odds and ends. (I’ve since learned that anyone who has a sense of humor is creative.)

Over the next five years, what Kembel and his colleagues at the d.school taught me changed the way I thought about everything, leaving me to wonder why the hell I had never learned the basic methods for thinking like a designer (especially in a world where the leading company, Apple, has a culture built around design methods).

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