The one-sentence summary

We all have creative potential that can be unleashed and there are many techniques that can help.


  • This book is from the founders of Ideo, the innovation agency. It argues that we can all be creative, and offers a range of techniques for doing so.
  • The basic steps are:

Flip: moving from design thinking to creative confidence.

Dare: moving from fear to courage; being prepared to have a go.

Spark: think like a traveller, empathise with the end user, and make field observations to inform improvements.

Leap: from planning to action – do something. Don’t get stuck in the planning phase. Keep a bug list – things that annoy you and should be improved. Then work out how to fix them; bridge the knowing/doing gap.

Seek: from duty to passion. The looks good, feels bad trap keeps people doing things they don’t care about just for the money or security.

Team: work in creatively confident groups by keeping your sense of humour, minimizing hierarchy, building on the energy of others, trusting camaraderie, and deferring judgement – at least temporarily.

Move: have the confidence to go and get on with it.

  • There are usually three factors to balance in any innovation programme:

Business: is it viable?

Technical: is it feasible?

People: is it desirable?


  • There is no word in the Tibetan language for creativity or being creative – it merely translates as being natural, more like when we were young and not afraid to experiment.
  • People with self-efficacy set their sights higher, try harder and persevere longer (Carol Dweck’s ‘growth mindset’).
  • Design-driven innovation involves inspiration, synthesis, ideation and experimentation, and implementation.
  • Guided mastery is a series of small successes leading to much greater creative confidence. The counterpoint to this is an anti-portfolio – a failure resume from which lessons can be learned.
  • Many people carry a creativity scar – an incident from their youth where they were embarrassed when experimenting with something. This makes them scared to try new things as adults.
  • Add constraints to spur action: less time, budget, or fewer people or resources.
  • For easier buy-in by colleagues and bosses, recast changes as experiments.
  • “Everything in modern society is the result of a collection of decisions made by someone. Why shouldn’t that someone be you?”


  • Not much. It’s a comprehensive toolkit and call to arms for innovative thinking.