Creativity is a crucial skill in modern business. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who outright disagrees with that statement; however, it’s clear that many companies are undervaluing the skill in their boardrooms. While a firm might say creativity is essential, in actuality it is often treated like a nice bonus to have but not completely necessary.
This is unfortunate, because creative thinking is ultimately what helps businesses to succeed. Products like the iPhone or services like Netflix did not become industry behemoths on the strength of their tech alone; creativity was used at every step of the process to develop, enhance and market the businesses.
According to the World Economic Forum, around 55 percent of companies believe creative thinking is a core skill for workers in 2023, and almost three-quarters consider this skill to be increasingly important between now and 2027. However, it only represents around seven percent of the average skill set for employees, and makes up just eight percent of companies’ reskilling strategies. It’s clear that not enough firms appreciate the importance of creative thinking.
Creativity and innovation
Creativity and innovation go hand-in-hand. New products, strategies and ideas don’t get developed in a vacuum; they need creative minds to think of them. Data and technology can both help give direction, but creativity is what allows innovation to actually occur.
However, this is not simple. Creative ideas require the right environment in order to thrive. People need freedom to think without fear of failure, judgement or imperfection. All too often, businesses reject creativity in favour of saver, more iterative ideas that have extremely low impacts on their industries. In order to innovate, you need both creative minds and a framework for creative thinking.
It should go without saying that businesses able to create and innovate effectively are better able to succeed in their industries. Not only does creativity allow them to come up with new ideas and strategies, it also enables companies to problem-solve when they encounter difficulties.
McKinsey looked at the evidence for this by taking companies’ Award Creativity Score (ACS) and comparing it to other metrics. For example, companies in the top quartile of the ACS were more than twice as likely to have above-average revenue growth. than the bottom quartile, and twice as likely to have above-average returns to shareholders.
Focusing on creativity isn’t just important for your bottom line; it can make your company better at every level. With only 13 percent of workers actually engaged at their jobs, it’s important employers look for ways to improve their working environments. Focusing on creativity could be one way to achieve this.
For example, one benefit of a creative workplace is that it encourages autonomy and self-determination, as employees are given the freedom to explore ideas without micromanagement or fear of failure. This is one of the key areas that shapes how enjoyable people find their jobs, making a creative workplace an engaged one.
Creativity isn’t the only metric by which a company should be measured. However, it is an extremely important one, and so many businesses are currently neglecting it. Don’t make this mistake; bring creativity into your workplace as soon as you can.
Learn more about how businesses and communities can benefit from creativity.