Design tips and insights for nonprofits and social enterprises.

Learning to take risks: 6 steps to creative confidence

Learning to take risks: 6 steps to creative confidence

Trying something new at work or in life can be difficult, especially if you, or your team, is risk adverse. I used to think of myself as a “no risk” kind of person — YOLO is not my motto. I don’t like taking personal risks that much, but I love being creative. What I’ve realized is that on the quest to find new creative challenges, I’ve had to try new things and take some risks. You can’t really have one without the other.

No one tells you that it’s much more than risk and reward
Like you, I heard all those quotes about risk and reward, but they never really inspired me. I always assumed “reward” was money or fame, and that’s not what motivates me. When I started to think about what did motivate me, was when opportunities presented themselves. I shared my ideas and goals with a few trusted people.  Then started taking small risks, which felt HUGE because they were so outside my comfort zone. Some things worked, some didn’t, and those leaps lead to others. I’m actually still working on achieving my “crazy” goals, and I hope to never stop. Which in of itself, is something that would have freaked me out a couple of years ago.

Go from overwhelmed to inspired by practicing risk
I won’t tell you that without risk, there’s no reward. Instead, I’ll say that courage and creativity are muscles and you have to test their limits regularly. Bring more creativity into your organization — how it operates, the marketing, brand, offerings and services — by practicing risk.

  • Create a culture of creativity by talking and learning about it. If you work in a team, you might want to begin this on your own first. Then start talking about it in meetings, at company happy hours, etc. Don’t be annoying, but try to keep it top of mind, share blogs, articles, case studies, etc., that could be inspiring.
  • Brainstorm possible outcome or goals, even the outrageous ones. This might be hard when all you can see is a big red flag. The goal is to find rewards that would be enticing enough for you to begin to think about taking a risk. This can be done in an informal group discussion as well. Be sure to give your team opportunity to voice their concerns or enthusiasm.
  • Pick one and find ways that you might be able to attain it, or something close to it. Start small with low hanging fruit and very little risk, with a short time span. You might fail, but that’s ok. Think if it as risk practice.
  • Now do it. Some goals might require you have someone accountable for the follow through, tracking, and measuring the end result. Again, think semi-painless. Give or find support as needed, and share. You’re more willing to do it if you tell people about it first.
  • What’s the outcome? If it was good, then plan another that stretches you a bit more. If it was bad, then plan another, but see what you can do differently.
  • Repeat, as often as desired or necessary.

I would love to learn about how you boost your creativity. How do you encourage risk when you feel stagnant? Or convince others to get on board?


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Practicing failure through experiments

Practicing failure through experiments

Trying to embrace your weaknesses can be scary, especially if you make it public, and I’m feeling scared right now. I don’t draw type very well and I’ve always been envious of people that can do it. I know everyone has different skills, and that doesn’t make one person better then another, blah, blah, blah. But sometimes I can’t help but feel a bit jealous. So, I’m practicing. I’m working on drawing type and going to post my “not very good” experiments on Instagram for #the100dayproject.

It’s a known fact that the more you practice, the better you get. So, hopefully, I’ll get better. Something else I’m doing for this project is highlighting some of the social issues faced by women and children. Why? Its really what I hope to focus my design business, Studio Civico, on. I spent a few days thinking about how I can merge type and women’s issues into a visual project. My first experiment was this:

It didn’t quite feel right. I didn’t like that the focus was on something ugly and negative. I wanted it be something with a bit more narrative, that could have a positive POV and invoke empathy, not despair. After reading a few stories, and watching a few videos on human trafficking I came up with this:

It feels better. More experiments are coming.

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