Why is creativity so important?

In his book A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink makes a compelling case that creative-thinking right-brainers will rule the future. In his book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, prolific business author Seth Godin proclaimed that one of the ways to establish yourself as an indispensable resource in an organization is to deliver unique creativity.” Seeking to reduce costs and leverage the global workplace, organizations are moving more work to regions where intellectual labor is cheaper. As more work becomes routine, commoditized, and achievable or more efficient through automation, the work that will be the most critically in-demand, and the work that offers the most freedom to those who seek and thrive in liberating environments, is creative work.

What is creative work?

Creativity is often thought of as the domain and responsibility of “creative types.” The designers, inventors, and artists. In fact creativity is for everyone and we all need to be creative at times in our personal lives and in work. Furthermore, we all, in our own way, crave opportunities to be creative, although these cravings vary with individuals and with time.

Creativity is highly necessary not just for innovation but for all decision making. The best decisions require people to continuously destroy existing mental concepts and replace them with newly constructed concepts that consider recent observations. Doing this requires effective logical and creative capabilities. Quite simply, creativity allows people to be open to possibilities, including those of extreme change. The ability to think creatively is essential if one is to effectively manage change, especially extreme change that could profoundly affect a situation. People who can think creatively are better at improvising in response to the unexpected.

What is creativity at scale?

If you’re an organization, creativity at scale is about harnessing creativity in teams and across organizations whether it be in dynamic, fluid environments or those that are more structured and somewhat static. It’s like a group of jazz musicians innovating and improvising together but at the scale of hundreds, thousands, or even more people. An organization that can do this is one that will be truly agile and innovative. Most organizations talk a lot about innovation, the divergent and convergent process of solving problems with unique solutions. However there is no such thing as innovation without creativity, the process of creating new ideas. The most effective organizations are those that help people do their best work whether that work is best done alone or in a team. This means that everyone in such an organization needs to be great at both individual and collaborative creativity.

If you’re an individual, then creativity at scale is about being more creative, where it can benefit you, both as an individual, and in collaboration with others, expanding your understanding of the creative process, and putting theory into practice.