The importance of creativity for a long career is more critical than ever, to stay relevant and employable in the age of automation
According to an article by Business Insiders Australia, one in three Australian jobs will be automated by 2030. And it’s not just manufacturing, white-collar professions like accounting and legal are also at risk.
It’s easy to feel gloomy about the future of work but it’s not all bad. Author, Daniel Pink, says that right-brainers (people who think creativity) will rule the future because their skills are both highly valued by organisations and not easily replicated by robots.
“Lawyers. Doctors. Accountants. Engineers. That’s what our parents encouraged us to become. They were wrong. Gone is the age of “left-brain” dominance. The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: designers, inventors, teachers, storytellers — creative and emphatic “right-brain” thinkers whose abilities mark the fault-line between who gets ahead and who doesn’t,” said Daniel Pink.
So, creativity is not just important for your career, it’s a must-have skill to ensure you have a career.
What is Creativity, you ask?
Does the word creativity conjure images of the artist Pro Hart exploding cream cakes onto a giant canvass?
The good news is you don’t have be an artist or in a typically creative job to think creatively. Most people, if they put their mind to it, have the capacity to be creative and use creative thinking.
According to Linda Naiman, Founder of Creativity at Work, creativity is “characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing.”
All you need to do is look at the “disruptors” that we are fond of talking about to understand this point. Take for example, Uber. They saw the problem of poor taxi service and provided a creative solution in ride-sharing. LinkedIn saw the time and effort to create and maintain a professional network and provided a creative solution. Freelancer saw that small business had a problem in getting stuff done and created a hub to connect small business with skilled freelancers. Each of these business are examples of reexamining old problems with creative solutions.
Therefore, creativity is finding new and innovative ways to fix business problems. And building your reputation as a problem solver will help you grow your career because every organization wants to hire self-starters who bring solutions rather than problems to their role.
Can Creativity Be Learned?
Many people think creativity is a gift you are born with or receive through divine intervention. However, training yourself to think in new and innovative ways is a skill you can and must learn for a sustainable and successful career.
Tanya Seelig, author of inGenuis: A Crash Course in Creativity, says that creativity is one of the most important skills we can learn.
“With enhanced creativity, instead of problems we see potential, instead of obstacles we see opportunities, and instead of challenges we see a chance to create solutions. Creativity is critically important in everything we do, including designing products, growing businesses, and building alliances between nations. We are literally inventing the future every moment. And these skills can be learned,” said Dr Seelig.
How Can I Be More Creative?
It really doesn’t matter how you get your creative juices flowing, the important thing is that you find a creative process that works for you. Practiced regularly, creativity becomes a professional and personal habit.
Here are five ways you can bring creativity into your work life
1. Change Your Mind
One way to boost your creativity is to look existing work problems differently. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer and think about how they use your product. Or think about the types of complaints employees make in the lunch room. Connect different parts of the business, combine ideas and challenge traditional business assumptions. For example, consider the invention of smart phones. A mobile phone used to be a tool to make phone calls and send text messages. But companies like Apple reimagined its potential and now mobile phones are used as cameras, diaries and even credit cards.
2. Look Outside Your Industry
Researching other industries can be a great way to spark your own imagination. In a world of 7.5 billion people, it’s unlikely you’re the first person to experience any given problem. Google is a great place to start. Consider re-framing your question so it’s not specific to your industry or job and learn how others have tackled the same or similar issues.
3. Make a Plan
Creativity isn’t something that just happens. In fact, it is a discipline. You need to set aside time to think, research and engage in problem-solving. And you need to make a start. Don’t wait for divine inspiration, put pen to paper and allow yourself to play with different ideas without expecting to nail it in the first five minutes.
4. Team Up
No one has all the answers. If you have a specific problem that needs a creative solution, talk to others and ask for their suggestions. In particular, talk to people who work in different industries or professions as they can suggest a different angle.
5. Walk Away
If you’re not getting anywhere by sitting and starting at a problem, walk away. In her TED Talk, Want to be more creative? Go for a walk, behavioural and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, suggests going for a walk is all you need to get your creative juices flowing.
As I read and contemplate all the research about the future of work, one thing is clear: to have a successful career, you’ll need to think creatively.
Let’s work together to secure your future career. I can help you tap into your creativity and bring your ideas to life.
• A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future
• Want to be more creative? Go for a walk.
• The Future of Human Work Is Imagination, Creativity, and Strategy
• Bet You Didn’t See This Coming: 10 Jobs That Will Be Replaced by Robots
• RISE OF THE MACHINES: New research predicts a third of Australian jobs will lost to automation by 2030
• Who Says Creativity Can’t Be Learned?