SHORTLISTED FOR THE PORCHLIGHT BUSINESS BOOK AWARD • “A delightful, compelling book that offers a dazzling array of practical, thoughtful exercises designed to spark creativity, help solve problems, foster connection, and make our lives better.”—Gretchen Rubin, New York Times bestselling author and host of the Happier podcast
In an era of ambiguous, messy problems—as well as extraordinary opportunities for positive change—it’s vital to have both an inquisitive mind and the ability to act with intention. Creative Acts for Curious People is filled with ways to build those skills with resilience, care, and confidence.
At Stanford University’s world-renowned Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, aka “the d.school,” students and faculty, experts and seekers bring together diverse perspectives to tackle ambitious projects; this book contains the experiences designed to help them do it. A provocative and highly visual companion, it’s a definitive resource for people who aim to draw on their curiosity and creativity in the face of uncertainty. Teeming with ideas about discovery, learning, and leading the way through unknown creative territory, Creative Acts for Curious People includes memorable stories and more than eighty innovative exercises.
Curated by executive director Sarah Stein Greenberg, after being honed in the classrooms of the d.school, these exercises originated in some of the world’s most inventive and unconventional minds, including those of d.school and IDEO founder David M. Kelley, ReadyMade magazine founder Grace Hawthorne, innovative choreographer Aleta Hayes, Google chief innovation evangelist Frederik G. Pferdt, and many more.
To bring fresh approaches to any challenge–world changing or close to home–you can draw on exercises such as Expert Eyes to hone observation skills, How to Talk to Strangers to foster understanding, and Designing Tools for Teams to build creative leadership. The activities are at once lighthearted, surprising, tough, and impactful–and reveal how the hidden dynamics of design can drive more vibrant ways of making, feeling, exploring, experimenting, and collaborating at work and in life. This book will help you develop the behaviors and deepen the mindsets that can turn your curiosity into ideas, and your ideas into action.
About the Author
Sarah Stein Greenberg is the executive director of the Stanford d.school. She leads a community of designers, faculty, and other innovative thinkers who help people unlock their creative abilities and apply them to the world. Sarah speaks regularly at universities and global conferences on design, business, and education. She holds an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and a BA in history from Oberlin College. Sarah also serves as a trustee for global conservation organization Rare.
The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, known as the d.school, was founded at Stanford University in 2005. Each year, nearly a thousand students from all disciplines attend classes, workshops, and programs to learn how the thinking and skills behind design can enrich their own work and unlock their creative potential.
“In Creative Acts for Curious People, [Greenberg] guides you to build your own creative skills with a fun, often light-hearted approach. But make no mistake: [Sarah’s] enjoyable exercises are fully based in research and practice. Boost your creativity and learn to solve complex problems in new ways with Creative Acts for Curious People.”—Success
“Whether you’re an independent artist seeking new approaches to your work or a leader aiming to mentor and galvanize your people, this book has an experience for you. I plan to put it to use in my own nonprofit leadership and personal creative projects.”—Susannah Felts, BookPage
“Full of practical exercises designed to spark creativity in the face of uncertainty.”—Fast Company
“Attending classes at the d.school changed my life. I learned that to build empathy and creativity, you have to break out of habits and patterns to see the world in new ways. This book is packed end to end with ways to do just that by taking any part of the design process to a new level, be it in the initial need-finding stage or deep into the execution phase. The illustrations are great too!”—Mike Krieger, co-founder of Instagram
“I’ve seen firsthand how the d.school thinks about creativity and design. Creative Acts for Curious People makes the genius of Sarah Stein Greenberg and the d.school available and accessible to everyone. The experiences inside this book teach both the hard and soft skills that we all need to navigate today’s world with agility, resilience, and imagination.”—Lorraine Twohill, chief marketing officer at Google
“Talent and intelligence are universal, but resources and opportunities are not. This book offers everyone what I experienced at the d.school—the realization that when you believe in your own creativity and support people in cultivating their own, together we can create a new future.”—Michael Tubbs, former mayor of Stockton, California, and founder of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income
“Mastering the skills of creativity, inventiveness, and improvisation may seem to be out of reach, but not if you are brave enough to read this extraordinary book. With memorable illustrations and compelling exercises, Creative Acts for Curious People clearly lays out practical ways to overcome any obstacle.”—Francesca Gino, Harvard Business School professor and bestselling author of Rebel Talent