Updated: Nov 4, 2019
‘Make yourself more creative’… ‘unleash your creativity and find peace’, ‘The economics of creativity’… they are all titles for books, courses, seminars, retreats… Do they sound important, prophetic and perhaps also a little trite? Quite possibly. But the path to creativity is a HOT topic at the moment, and you don’t have to look very hard to find it. But why?
Creativity has become a new symbol of the self-improvement industry. It’s a buzzword for freedom from the monotony of corporate life and domestic drudgery. Creative people are free! They live as they want! And that freedom to do as you want? It’s the new luxury. The freedom and flexibility to shape your life as you need it are the needs of the generation starting in the workforce now and in the next few years.
But whilst the books and the retreats are important as a tool for many people to improve their creative abilities, they are diverting attention from the real issue. As automation will inevitably replace some manual human roles with machines, and the needs of business and the economy change, we can look to the needs from the human workforce in 15-20 years’ time and know that the skills required will rest heavily on those driven by creative ability: problem solving, critical thinking and collaborating with others.
Time will be freed up for people to add value by doing the things they are really good at – not inputting data (leave that to the bots) but instead, stepping out of a situation and seeing things differently. Spotting the opportunities, working with others to solve the problems. These are our natural human abilities, but we have lost them in a world led by passing tests and adhering to process.
It feels ridiculous to even have to write it, but our capabilities as human beings are very valuable. They are not something technology will be able to replicate (though it may be trying to). So, we need to ensure we are training these skills properly – starting NOW – if we want to be ready for the amazing opportunities that are ahead of us in the coming years and decades.
And there are amazing opportunities! This is not time for panic stations – this is the time to get excited! It means that businesses, individuals and education need to take actions to prepare the whole of the next generation of creative thinkers as well as ensure us adults are able to warm up (or ‘unleash our inner peace’, if you prefer) the creative thinking gadgetry inside our heads – and we all have it – to hit the ground running when our jobs become less data input and more problem solving.
So this is why everyone is talking about creativity. And there are fabulous examples of businesses and factories making changes to working environments; schools using creativity as a vehicle for learning about ‘non-creative’ subjects, and freelance consultants using creative tools into their working practices. But - they are rare, and we need them to become commonplace in order to ensure that the future is positive.