Thinking About Creativity

Have you ever received this comment or guilty of saying this to someone – Think out of the box? In essence, it is asking someone to be more creative. “How important is Creativity in this AI-driven VUCA world?” you may ask. Well, based on LinkedIn Learning’s research using data from their network of over 660+ million professionals and 20+ million jobs, sitting right on top as the most in-demand soft skill in 2020 is Creativity.

Creativity is the most in-demand soft skill in 2020

Now before we go any further, let’s define Creativity. A couple of formal definitions come to mind:

  1. The use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness
  2. To look at and solve problems from a different perspective
  3. The ability to think in new and original ways

Or perhaps let’s look at more interesting interpretations:

  1. Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking the rules, making mistakes, and having fun (Mary Lou Cook)
  2. Creativity is problem-solving with relevance and novelty (Stefan Mumaw)
  3. Creativity is intelligence having fun (Albert Einstein)

Creativity is taken seriously by many leaders and organisations. For example, Richard Branson, he said “Creativity – or thinking differently, as we like to say within the Virgin Group – has moved our brand from mail-order records to space travel. Had we not embraced creative ideas, we would have more than likely gone out of business when the iPod changed the music industry.”  

Jack Ma at the 2019 Bloomberg Business Forum citing the secrets of success for Alibaba said “What sets humans apart is love, i.e. our feeling for justice, our Creativity in the face of challenges, our ability to empathise deeply and respond wisely.” And there are companies propounding Creativity as the key to their brand’s differentiation – Apple’s Think Different Campaign that ran from 1997 to 2002. In Jan 2020 Apple ran new Jobs Ad Campaign borrowing the spirit of the Iconic Think Different campaign, watch the video here. 

In Singapore, we have our real estate company Keppel Land, the property arm of Keppel Corporation with its Thinking Unboxed corporate tagline.

Research has shown again and again that game-changing business strategies are born of creative thinking: a spark of intuition, a connection between different ways of thinking, a leap into the unexpected. 

At the individual level, we’ve seen how Oprah Winfrey uses her Creativity to reinvent herself several times in her life to become who she is today – a media mogul and philanthropist. If you are a football fan, you’ve probably watched the recent Super Bowl where Jennifer Lopez, another reinventor rocked the stage during the half time show

Game-changing business strategies are born of creative thinking

I am fascinated with Creativity, and my work demands Creativity. As a consultant, I generate solutions to help clients solve the problems at hand. As a facilitator, I design processes for team ideation to address their looming issues. And as a coach, I partner with clients to support them in generating their own solutions to achieve their outcomes.

After spending years studying, thinking and teaching about Creativity, I found that Creativity is not that elusive after all, it’s just like a muscle, and you just need to work on it consistently. Creativity is an infinite source. The more you spend, the more you have.

In my next article, I will discuss some tools and techniques that I will be sharing in my Creativity workshop in Singapore and Yangon. And if you can’t make it for my workshop while in Yangon, perhaps you can join me for a Power Morning Session where I’ll energise your morning with some creative tips.

In the meantime, think about how you or your organisation foster creative thinking. If you want to “future-proof” your career and your organisation, there’s no better approach than focusing on thinking more creatively. 

Creativity is an infinite source. The more you spend, the more you have.

Written by Catherine Chai – Principal Consultant, Trainer & Facilitator