In the face of negative feedback on creative activity people can loose the confidence in their ability to creatively. To overcome this taught lack of confidence, Prof. Bandura (Harvard) teaches people self-efficacy: the sense that you can change the world. By guiding people through a series of baby steps, he teaches them to overcome their fear. This approach works unbelievably well, as suggested by people with a fear of snakes learning to enjoy having a snake in their lap. Best of all, people not only learn to overcome their fear of snakes, but to overcome most any fear. They have become confident in dealing with the challenges they face. As a side-effect, people with this skill start doing what really matters to them. Professor David Kelley (Harvard) builds on the work of Professor Bandura to develop creative confidence in innovative teams. He uses iterative prototyping to let people regain their confidence in their creativity.

I appreciate the confidence Kelley inspires in others. His approach has a feel similar to Theory-U, SCRUM, Agile and LEAN. However, I believe his insights are more widely applicable. Innovation managers best be very aware that the performance of their innovative teams benefits from positive feedback on their learning. A kind and enthousiastic interest to always go for the next step builds creative confidence. People no longer make mistakes, they learn. As an innovation manager, one can no longer judge what goes wrong, only celebrate the lessons learned. As easy as that sounds, I see one serious challenge coming up.