• Ximena Matus

Creative Confidence - Keynote for Cuban Chevening Alumni Summit in Havana

I had the amazing opportunity to visit Cuba back in February, and even though it was a short trip, I was able to enjoy that picturesque charm that Cuba has.


I met the Cheveners from the Chevening Alumni group and was able to participate in the 1st Cuban Chevening Alumni Summit in Havana.


These amazing guys, brought their ideas, passion and hard work together to organize the leadership summit, that took place in the Museum of Modern Art in Havana. The purpose of the event was to begin nurturing the Chevening community in Cuba, and for all Cheveners to get to know each other.


In addition to that, the team had the opportunity to invite regional Chevening leaders to present a keynote on our take in Leadership, and how the Cuban Cheveners may benefit from what we have learned. I had the honor to be able to participate as a keynote speaker, and I wanted to share with the other Cheveners, my passion for design and how it has influenced leadership.


Creative Confidence

Creativity, that world that many people are scare of, but deep inside they want to get involved in. A grey area where, according to many people, only the ¨artists and designers belong to¨. But the real question is, why are we so insecure about being creative, especially in when being a leader? Are we afraid to fail? Are we afraid to sound crazy to our peers?

Many leaders across the world recognize creativity as a key competency for companies when facing the complexity of today's business and innovation challenges.Throughout the years creativity has slowly shifted away from only being a fixed trait of designers and artist, to be a key to innovate in every discipline.


What I wanted to accomplish with my keynote, is for participants to reflect that creativity is something we don't teach, but that everyone should rediscover among themselves. Is the ability to come up with new ideas, but also to have the courage to try them out. Is the ability to lead people and to help them unblock their creativity and support them throughout that journey.

What they took home

After they keynote I couldn't expect them to change their mindset as easy as pushing a button. But what I'm happy to say is that the seed has been planted, and after talking with some of the participants I was able to feel their excitement in wanting to embrace and re-discover their creativity, and that's what matters the most. If you believe in your capacity to create positive change and the courage to take action, you can call yourself a creative person. Creativity, far from requiring drawing and modelling skills, depends on what you believe you can do with what you currently have.


My inspiration for this keynote

One of the main sources of inspiration for my keynote was the book Creative Confidence, by Tom and David Kelley. This book was like an amazing way for me to reboost my Creative Confidence that I had.


What I´ve learned about this book is that, if you currently feel that you are not a creative person, or always thinking ¨I'm not good at that¨, you have to let go of that mindset before you can move you. When you unleash your Creative Confidence, you start to see new ways to improve on the status quo.


So two things I will recommend, the book and visit Havana!


¨The best way to gain confidence in your creative ability is through action, taken one step at a time, through experiencing a small series of small successes. Whatever creative goal you choose, it is important to build on your experience and not let fear and inertia hold you back.”

- Creative Confidence



© 2019 by Ximena Matus