“Start with a beginner’s mind” is an oft repeated mantra for design thinkers. It’s meant to encourage expansive, non judgemental observation – and open up new connections and possibilities. That’s because design thinking — unlike engineering or business thinking — is not about applying known solutions. Design thinking techniques are good for messy, complex, hard-to-define problems that require exploration and creativity, aka wicked problems.

Solving such problems often require humility, a willingness to learn, to empathize, to be wrong, to share credit and collaborate with people wherever they may be in the hierarchy.

The best design thinkers and creatives do all of the above. They’re geniuses, but you’d hardly recognize them as such. Their approach is antithetical to what western society thinks of as confident badasses. Yet, that’s what they are.

Can you recognize a creative badass?

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