Creative Listening

Get more out of what you hear

What is Creative Listening?

Creative listening is a mindset born out of our own experience with how hard listening has become. Based on the methods IDEO uses to solve the world’s stickiest design challenges, Creative Listening is a process of tuning in, listening, and reflecting that helps you get more out of what you hear.

What will it help me do?

Become a better,
more engaged listener
Surprise yourself with
unexpected insights
Gain confidence
in your instincts
Spark creativity
in your day-to-day life

How can I learn more?

The Creative Listening podcast series explores four themes through IDEO stories as well as tips and tricks to keep in mind as you apply them to your own life.


Inspiration is the fuel to any creative fire. Sometimes it strikes like lightning, but mostly we find the need to spark it ourselves. Staying open to surprise and embracing ambiguity can help ignite a firestorm of imagination.

   Worksheet (76kb)   Fuel from a Different Fire (06:32)


Curiosity is the desire to keep things interesting. Allowing yourself to drop any biases and be totally surprised will help you explore, discover, and ultimately push your work forward.

   Worksheet (67kb)    Voyages Beyond the Map (06:13)


Instead of slogging away for needles in a haystack, intuition can help you find the brilliant diamonds. Rather than scribble down everything that sounds important, notice what resonates with you personally and follow that lead to uncover insights that are unique to you.

   Worksheet (96kb)   Diamonds in a Haystack (07:10)


Big ideas are powerful — if we can wrap our heads around them. Too often, abstraction, buzzwords, and jargon get in the way. Boiling concepts down to their essence makes them easier to grasp, share, and build on.

   Worksheet (85kb)   Oceans into Teacups (07:11)

What's next?

We’re turning this mindset into a toolset. The Creative Listening app was successfully piloted with 100 whip smart workshop attendees at SXSW Interactive 2015. A beta release is planned for later this year.

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