David Kelley on Innovation

By Jeremy Smart, Teacher

David Kelley, a professor in Stanford’s product design program and founder and CEO of IDEO Product Development, spoke at a Bing staff-development day about keeping an innovative, open mind. He
certainly spoke from experience: IDEO has designed
thousands of products, ranging from toothpaste tubes to laptop computers.
Kelley emphasized that creativity and innovation are most likely to arise when one can unlock restraints and “get out of your comfort zone” in order to think outside the box. He pointed out several activities that help people invent and develop ideas, including beginning with brainstorming, gaining confidence in drawing (both to aid creation to present ideas to others), critiquing and displaying work, and even “bringing
in people that don’t fit,”
for their perspectives can spark change in seemingly set ideas
and routines.
Kelley stressed that being innovative and creative will apply “to anything in life, not just being an artist.” Perhaps even more than adults, children are natural experts in creativity. A wooden block becomes a boat; sand and water transform into part of a fantastic meal; paper and string turn into a rocketship to the moon. By helping children develop such ideas, offering an opportunity to see things in new ways and from different perspectives, we parents and educators can provide an excellent venue for
self-discovery and learning.

David Kelley, a professor in Stanford’s product design program and founder and CEO of IDEO Product Development, spoke at a Bing staff-development day about keeping an innovative, open mind. He certainly spoke from experience: IDEO has designed thousands of products, ranging from toothpaste tubes to laptop computers.

Kelley emphasized that creativity and innovation are most likely to arise when one can unlock restraints and “get out of your comfort zone” in order to think outside the box. He pointed out several activities that help people invent and develop ideas, including beginning with brainstorming, gaining confidence in drawing (both to aid creation to present ideas to others), critiquing and displaying work, and even “bringing in people that don’t fit,” for their perspectives can spark change in seemingly set ideas and routines.

Kelley stressed that being innovative and creative will apply “to anything in life, not just being an artist.” Perhaps even more than adults, children are natural experts in creativity. A wooden block becomes a boat; sand and water transform into part of a fantastic meal; paper and string turn into a rocketship to the moon. By helping children develop such ideas, offering an opportunity to see things in new ways and from different perspectives, we parents and educators can provide an excellent venue for self-discovery and learning.