Creativity – and why it is important

Posted by on February 11, 2013

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A while back I read an article by Tom Peters about how the changing nature of work is both a big problem and also a big opportunity (Financial Times, August 26, 2012).  In it, I found a couple of Tom’s statements to be rather confronting:

Generic “brain-work”, the traditional and dominant white-collar activities that now employ the bulk of us, is increasingly undertaken by exponentially enhanced artificial intelligence applied at ever increasing speed.

The educational infrastructure must be upended to underpin support for the creative jobs that will be more or less the sole basis for employment, economic growth and wealth creation.

As I thought about this, I realised that over the past ten years, we have witnessed some dramatic changes in our work environments.  Almost every update of software for the various business systems we use brings with it more automation and integration, meaning that many of the things that people used to do are now being done by computers.  At the same time, outsourcing and/or off-shoring of jobs has occurred in many sectors, e.g. IT, customer services, finance, accounting, manufacturing, marketing, sales, HR, L&D, etc., etc.   

While Tom’s article was targeted towards the US, it would seem to me that the things he describes apply to all developed economies.  The bottom line here is that the workplace is changing; it is becoming more efficient in terms of cost-savings and revenue generation.  For businesses and corporations, both large and small, this is a matter of survival.  For those of us who work in the businesses and corporations, it can be a time of upheaval, uncertainty, and even ‘displacement’.

One of Tom’s messages is that creative jobs will be a key part of the future, i.e. being creative is something that people can still do better than computers can.  However, for many of us, creativity is not necessarily something that comes easily.  In fact, there is evidence suggesting that in many nations, over the years the education systems have not fostered the development of creativity amongst students.  While this may be changing, for those of us who were educated in this way, we need to find ways to develop our creative skills.

Our ability to be creative holds an important key to our future

Our ability to be creative holds an important key to our future

My first free nugget is a short video (1min:50sec) that I came across towards the end of last year:
29 WAYS TO STAY CREATIVE.  I personally love the creativity behind the video – and I can promise that you will not be bored.  Here are two links that I have found for the video: (HD .mp4 file)

I will continue further on the creativity topic in my next post.  In the meantime, enjoy the free nugget.

Coming next:  Creativity – it’s about having wild ideas

It also turns out that back in May 2000, Tom Peters authored a Time Magazine story titled “What Will We Do for Work?”  In this he wrote: “I believe that ninety percent of white-collar jobs in the U.S. will be either destroyed or altered beyond recognition in the next 10 to 15 years.”  The three causes that he identified were: “destructive” (game-changing) competition; technology/artificial intelligence; and outsourcing.  It seems like Tom’s predictions are right on schedule.

Link to Tom Peters’ Financial Times article:

Note:  the FT site requires a free registration for access


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4 Responses to Creativity – and why it is important

  1. Donna

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog Marlene and this has been very thought provoking for me. I have spent the last 8 months focused on negatives ie miss my old job and working with a wonderful team. This prompted me to start thinking about what I can do to change my new work environment and make my own challenges. Oh how I have missed the ‘voice of reason’. The video was great and I’m sure I will be watching this often. I’m looking forward to your next blog. Blog on!

    • Marlene Hopkins

      Hi Donna,
      Thanks for your comments; it’s really encouraging to hear such feedback. Because I had another two posts about creativity still to come, I waited before responding. I personally got a buzz from the video, and as I noted in the post, I love the creativity behind it.
      We tend to see creativity as one of those things that you either have, or you don’t have. But, if we look at children, they are born with natural curiosity and imagination, which are the foundations of creativity.
      Often, our creative side is pushed to the back as we grow up. Creativity is something that must be fostered, and creative children can be a handful for parents, teachers, etc. So, although our society might value creativity in art, technology, industry, etc., we don’t seem to invest in growing the creative person.
      Somewhere, inside each of us, there is a creative capacity. We just need to know what keys to use to release it.

  2. Dot

    I loved the video, it’s very fundamental and I think many, many people have forgotten this. There are a number of things I could tick off that I do regularly, yet there was also a large number that have just been dropped in order to meet deadlines. Deadlines that could have had a better outcome if all points had been incorporated in the first place.
    Great blog, very informative and thought provoking. I’m going to look at my day tomorrow and see which ones I can add. Singing in the shower should be a quick win. :)

    • Marlene Hopkins

      Hi Dot,
      Great to hear that you found the post was thought provoking and informative. Hopefully the singing in the shower, and a few of the other tips, are working for you. I waited before responding because I had two more posts on creativity lined up for publishing.
      I have often heard people say: “you need to be more creative”, but seldom has anyone followed up with “how” to do that. After hearing this for a while, many of us probably start to think that we are not really creative, and so we leave it to others.
      As children, most of us were creative to some extent. But, over the years, our creative capacity has been pushed aside, for various reasons (e.g. creative children can be a handful for parents, teachers, etc.). If our creative capacity has been buried away, we can release it if we know what keys to use.

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