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Flatland, a visual thinking agency, helps companies and institutions turn complexity into clarity by using visual thinking, co-creation and design thinking. They work together with their clients in a (physical) setting where they co-create together and use visualization as a means of problem solving and communication. During these sessions their clients are expected to fully engage and participate, while they usually do not have extensive experience with this way of working. This leads to some participants closing off during sessions, which leads to less (valuable) input from them.

Research suggests that one’s involvement and participation in creative activities is influenced by one’s creative self-beliefs (Karwowski, Lebuda & Beghetto, 2019). In the context of Flatland the specific creative self-belief of creative confidence has the biggest impact, which is the belief in one’s ability to think or act creatively in and across particular performance domains’’ (Karwowski & Beghetto, 2018). This influences what creative tasks one will engage with and in what way they will perform (Karwowski & Beghetto, 2018). The latter is especially important for Flatland, since they would like their participants to perform to their full potential, because this results in more (valuable) input and a more qualitative end result.

Several observations, interviews and surveys were conducted which resulted in the following insights. 1) Several participants feel overwhelmed when entering the first co-creation session with Flatland as they have to adjust to a new way of working, new team, new context, etc. 2) Flatland did not structurally prepare their participants for their co-creation sessions. 3) The participants with the lowest creative confidence scores usually talk less, initiate less, mostly react and feel doubtful when they speak which sometimes results in them disappearing into the background. This is not beneficial to Flatland nor the client, since this leads to less (valuable) input and a less qualitative end result.

This resulted in the design of a digital preparation booklet that aimed to improve the creative confidence of participants that usually score the lowest within a group, by preparing them before their first co-creation session starts, so they are able to express their opinion more easily and fully engage during the process. This was done through the use of the four sources of self-efficacy (Bandura, 1996) and through decreasing the impact of the four fears that influence creative confidence (Kelley & Kelley, 2012).

The final booklet was validated through several observations, interviews and a survey. Client input showed that they valued the thorough preparation and that the booklet felt as a warm welcome and made them excited for the upcoming sessions. Observations and interviews with Flatland showed that participants seemed to work better together, persevered longer when things got complex, actively participated throughout the whole session and felt ready and excited at the beginning of the first session. Survey data shows that even though there was not a significant increase in participant’s creative confidence, there were less lower scoring participants after using the booklet. And so the intended effect was achieved.