What is Creativity and why is it important at work?
Look through job ads these days and the word creative is practically everywhere.
Because creativity is the skill of the future.
Today more employers and recruiters are recognising the importance of creativity. In its Global Talent Trends 2019 report, LinkedIn cited soft skills as vitally important for career success.
At the top of the list?
You’ve guessed it – creativity.
The reality is that to survive in a fast-changing world you need to be creative.
From Richard Branson to Steven Spielberg, top leaders say creativity in the workplace is essential.
But what if you’re someone who thinks they’re “just not creative”?
Does that mean you’ll strike out in interviews and the workplace?
Creativity is not a rare quality granted solely to a select group of “creatives” among us. Everyone can be creative – it all comes down to how you define creativity.
What is creativity?
The Oxford Dictionary defines creativity as: “The use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.”
We love this definition by Albert Einstein even more:
“Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought.”
Simple as that.
Our thoughts, actions, and words can all be forms of creativity. Creativity is the ability to look at the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between things that seem completely different, and to generate innovative solutions.
When you’re creative, you can turn new and imaginative ideas into reality and solve problems.
For example, when Fast Company named its Most Creative People in Business list for 2020, it wasn’t all poets, artists and inventors.
Take a look at some of the names on the list:
- Ryan Reynolds – not just the Deadpool actor, he’s a super investor in companies where he sees potential, like premium gin company Aviation Gin.
- Celeste Barber – the comedian raised $35 million by recreating hilarious celebrity Instagram posts.
- Krista Scruggs – the founder and winemaker at Zafa Wines was celebrated for embracing outside influences and ingredients in her winemaking.
- Celeste Holz-Schietinger – the leading biochemist at Impossible Foods, the company behind the plant-based burgers that look like real meat, leads a team to not just imitate meats but improve on them.
Now, when you think about creativity that way, it’s no wonder employers are looking for creativity! Whether you work in technology, customer service, marketing or accounting, creativity can bring incredible, game-changing benefits to every organisation.
Why you need creativity at work
Creativity unlocks innovation
Creativity encourages you to ask questions and find new solutions to problems. It makes you more likely to experiment with ideas in the workplace, which can lead to new processes that benefit everyone. That could mean developing new products or services to fill a gap in the market, or improving processes.
Creativity helps teamwork
Ever heard the saying “two heads are better than one?”. The very process of creativity needs collaboration. Some organisations go as far as having regular brainstorming sessions to allow employees to contribute to, and build on projects. This creates immense engagement and team strength as employees have a say and are involved in the creative process.
Creativity makes you happier
We’ve all heard about how companies like Google and Virgin keep employees happy and motivated by involving them in creative pursuits (not to mention the bowling alleys and free food!). It’s all about giving people creative outlets to make them feel more engaged, and good about themselves. Other workplaces are catching on, with some even offering classes that equip staff with creative skills, such as languages, painting and drawing, and learning musical instruments.
The mere process of being creative can get our happy juices flowing, generate excitement and help us enjoy work more. It gets us thinking differently, breaks up our normal patterns of working, and makes things more interesting and engaging.
Creativity solves problems and helps decision making
Creativity helps you look at problems in a different way, which means you’re more likely to come up with unique and innovative solutions. Imagine how many ideas and decisions you can collect when you use a creative process and think outside the box.
Creativity is good for your mental health
Coming to grips with something new and creative is good for our mental health, regardless of how skilled we are, a UK study found. The research found that doing something creative can help people see problems in a new light and work through solutions.
Creativity helps you deal with uncertainty and change
The thing about creativity is that it can lead you down paths you may never have been on. Uncertainty is around every corner, and that’s okay! So, the more you tap into creativity in the workplace, the better you’ll become at dealing with unknown.
Creativity makes you more adaptable and resilient, and these are critical skills for your thriving career.
Be inspired, be hired. Nobody is expecting you to be the next Steve Jobs, but employers are looking for people who can tap into creativity to solve problems, deal with change, and innovate.
Remember, creativity in the workplace isn’t limited to those with design degrees or artistic talent. It’s not something you either have, or you don’t.
Every person in every role at every level can think outside the box; it simply takes the right environment and a bit of practice. Start using habits that will help you harness your creativity, and you’ll not only stand out in a competitive job market, you’ll be happier and more satisfied too!.
Learn top skills for how to be creative – download the free Hodie app.