When most people think about creativity, we tend to associate it with an aptitude for the arts whether it be composing rock ‘n’ roll anthems or writing the next great Australian novel. We tend to put those who demonstrate consistent creativity on a pedestal of talent that the rest of us regular folk will never achieve.
Analysis of over 4.2 million online jobs from FYA’s The New Basics report showed demand for employees with creativity skills has risen over 65% over the past few years. It has also revealed that employers will pay a premium for candidates with these skills – over $3,000 more in fact.
According to the World Economic Forum 2016 Report creativity is the third most important skill we will need to succeed at work by 2020.
So what is creativity? And why are so many employers seeking out these skills for so many different jobs?
In truth, research shows that creativity isn’t necessarily a gift or talent we’re born with – it’s a skill we can learn, build and improve on with practice and time.
Creativity is about our ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns and relationships to generate meaningful, new, and useful ideas. This can be achieved with a paintbrush in your hand, but it’s equally possible to produce when designing a new computer program or brainstorming for a new organisational strategy.
In the workplace, our creativity comes into play when we’re brainstorming solutions for how we might change an approach to engaging with our customers online, finding new ways to address existing challenges or even expressing meaning in different ways.
Creativity can be effected through individual thought process or as a group. Also, while creativity can be generated from a thought or feeling, it is equally possible for creativity to be developed from a considered and deliberate process.
As technology improves, FYA’s The New Work Smarts report shows that AI is going to increasingly take over the routine, administrative and manual tasks we do. As a result, we’re going to spend more and more time communicating, problem solving and using our STEM skills.
To remain relevant in this future workforce, we need to nurture and elevate our emotional intelligence, in particular, the skills and capabilities like creativity which differentiate us from smart machines. This is why employers are putting increased value on skills like creativity.
So how do we help foster creativity to prepare for this changing world of work?
The first step is breaking down the assumption that some people are ‘creative’ and others aren’t.
The second is recognising the things we already do that involve exercising our creativity, whether it be collaborating with others to open up your mind to other ideas or even just constantly questioning whether things could be done better or differently.
The final step is making a habit out these behaviours. Practice flexes and builds the creative muscle.
Read more about ‘the new basics’ like creativity skills here.
Liked this article? To sign up to our fortnightly newsletter, scroll down and select ‘get research, media and partner updates’.