Tom Kelley

Partner, IDEO | Author of the bestseller, "Creative Confidence" | Chairman, D4V (Design For Venture)
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Tom Kelley practices innovation every day. His ability to foster a culture of creativity in the companies he works with has made him one of the most beloved figures in innovation. Tom is Chairman of D4V Design For Venture, a venture capital firm with IDEO to enable Japanese start-ups.

Tom's current book, Creative Confidence, is an out-of-the-box success; in its first week, it was already among the best-selling business books in the country, leading the field in motivational leadership and problem-solving.

Creative Confidence is a guide to recognizing and unleashing the creative potential in every employee. Too often, companies and individuals assume that creativity and innovation are the domain of the "creative types" — artists, writers, the design team. But every one of us has the potential to be creative; creativity is a mindset that anyone can cultivate, not a personality trait you either have or you don't. And in a marketplace where competitiveness is defined by innovation, the more creativity you unlock across the board, the more likely you are to succeed. Creative Confidence was co-written with Tom's brother David Kelley, the founder of IDEO and creator of the Stanford, and the book draws on both brothers' extensive work through these institutions with many of the world's top companies.

This is just the latest step in Tom's highly respected career as a leader in innovation management and design. Under his management, IDEO has won more admiration and awards than any other design firm in the last decade. At the heart of IDEO's success is the Creative Confidence philosophy: everyone can contribute creatively to a project if innovation is part of an organization's way of life.

Tom's earlier books include The Art of Innovation, which describes IDEO’s "deep dive" approach to successful product creation, focusing on brainstorming and teamwork as invaluable tools. The Ten Faces of Innovation shares ten unique strategies for making sure that good ideas make it to market.

Tom was named the first-ever Executive Fellow by the dean of the Haas Business School, University of California Berkeley, and received the 2009 Kellogg Award for Distinguished Leadership from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.


Leading with Creative Confidence

Creativity has become a key success factor for companies of all kinds, and Tom Kelley will show how creative methodologies like design thinking can contribute to innovation and growth. Drawing on research from his New York Times bestseller, Creative Confidence, Tom’s presentation will cover three themes in the creative process: -Blending technology with humanity at the front end of innovation, so that design and innovation resources focus on areas of human need

-Using experimentation to reduce the cost of failure and gain valuable learnings before the launch of a new idea

-Leveraging the power of storytelling to communicate your message and accelerate the adoption of innovations

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Half-day Workshop on Creative Confidence

As well as giving keynote talks, Tom is equally able to talk over longer periods such as a half-day workshop, providing a more in-depth look at the process and application of design thinking in the workplace. Doctors spend an extraordinary amount of time getting their qualifications at medical school, and the day they start practicing, they have an up-to-date knowledge of their field. But as medical advances occur on a regular basis, Doctors (and Surgeons) have to find ways of renewing their knowledge and expertise throughout their careers. The way medical practitioners keep themselves updated is with a learning process known as "Hear one, see one, do one". First, they hear or read about a new procedure. Then they watch carefully as they see someone else do it. Finally, they do one themselves, usually first in a safe practice setting. Each step reinforces the one that came before it, and practitioners build their expertise. In a similar way, IDEO’s experience with client executives shows that, when they use the “Hear one, see one, do one” learning model, there is a higher probability business audiences will retain the content and turn the ideas into action. Tom uses this process as the basis for this half-day workshop and applies it very successfully to business scenarios. The workshop is broken down into three parts, the design of which is as follows: 1) "Hear one" — This is a keynote presentation to familiarize the audience with concepts and examples for applying design thinking to complex problems of all kinds. After the presentation, there will be time for Q&A and a short break, which brings the workshop to the halfway point. 2) "See one" — The core of this portion is a short video case study of innovation at work called The Deep Dive. The video is from a television called “Nightline,” where IDEO was asked to reinvent a product category in just four days. The product turned out to be shopping carts/trolleys, but the real story of the video case study is the process for innovation. The video was a huge commercial success, the shopping cart went on display at America’s Smithsonian Institute, and The Deep Dive was so influential that it became the basis for a Harvard Business School case study which is seemingly still used in the MBA program there. This is followed by a short Q&A. 3) "Do one" — A practical activity lasting approximately 90 minutes, based on a mini-project from the at Stanford University, (the was founded by Tom’s brother David Kelley). This exercise to designed to allow the group to practice some of the tools used in ‘design thinking’ — this includes empathy, experimentation, and storytelling — to solve problems in new ways.

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Creative Leadership in a Post-pandemic World

Having adapted to the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic years, healthcare companies now have a chance to transform and thrive as the industry accelerates into a new era. In this session, venture capitalist, author, and design executive Tom Kelley will describe ways that creative leaders can guide their teams to innovation success. Drawing on his 35 years of working with corporate clients at IDEO and startups at D4V (Design for Ventures), Tom will remind us all that the innovation process accommodates many kinds of leaders, who can each make their own unique contribution along the way. He will then lay out five strategies for creative leadership:

-Renewing a commitment to accelerated learning

-Seeking purpose as well as profit

-Painting an optimistic picture of the future — with your idea in it

-Thinking like an entrepreneur

-Streamlining organizational change with pull, not push

Throughout his presentation, Kelley will focus on practical real-life examples, aimed at the kind of ideas that you can turn into action.

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IDEO’s Tom Kelley is Design Thinking’s unltimate disciple, he makes the case as to why | High Resolution
Tom Kelley


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Tom Kelley on Creative Confidence, Design Thinking, and Empathy for Startups
Globis Insights
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Storytelling Techniques for Entrepreneurs
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Build Your Creative Confidence: Customer Journey Map
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Build Your Creative Confidence: Nickname Warm-Up


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