This is an Operator's Manual for You and Your Wits
It is your personal guide to making sh*t happen—whatever that means for you—whether you are deep in the weeds or at square one. And we all know that, while it’s really hard work, even little adjustments can completely change the velocity and trajectory of your work. This book is a blueprint for doing and mobilizing all of yourself; it will show you how working with the right tools, looking through new lenses, and cultivating a resourceful spirit will help you get it all done. Because without these things, you won’t survive the difficult moments—and trust me, there will be many. Making things happen, even while in the midst of chaos, is possibility personified. Linking ideas to action is the miraculous process of transforming a thought into reality, reminding us that our work can design a better tomorrow not only for ourselves but for others too. Take your creativity seriously! Any work that you put out there does change the world in some way. Think of this book as a workshop open house, where the tools and processes are on full display for you to borrow and enlist in service of your creations and contributions to the world.
Creativity is at the crux of our humanity. It’s enabled us, as human beings, to not only survive, but flourish!
Creativity is embodied in that awe-inspiring architectural wonder and in that exquisite bite of pasta, both of which stir us in indescribable ways. Creativity is intrinsic to that rocket launch or perfect sports play that make our hearts leap out of our chests and make our butts bound out of our chairs. Creativity fuels the innovation that helps educators teach children in the most difficult circumstances as well as the gadget that enables grandmas to connect with their families from afar. All creative outcomes—large or small, tangible or intangible—were all, once upon a time, just a possibility.
I have immersed myself in the study and practice of creativity and innovation over thirty years of making things and more than twelve years teaching design methodologies at Stanford’s d.school, all the while shaping scientific research on creative capacity building and bringing new products to market. Through this work there is one thing I know for certain: we are all creative. We already possess (almost) everything we need to make things happen. Please know, I’m not an ordained high priestess of creativity bestowing upon you the secret book on possibilities from on high. We are all human, merely being. I am writing this book because I have dedicated my life to enabling and inspiring people to be creative, to helping others discover and release their inner genie-in-a-bottle through art-meets-commerce endeavors. A book that breaks down the nuances of how to materialize your own best ideas and efforts is another way to do just that.
Copyright © 2023 by Grace Hawthorne and Stanford d.school, designed by Celia Leung. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.