By definition, creativity is commonly associated with specific industries, personalities and skill sets. The Oxford English Dictionary definition however, makes the case for a much more inclusive meaning- “the ability to use skill and imagination to produce something new or to produce art”. Creativity is not a discipline, but a skillset, driven by agency and an ability to react to external challenges. We recognise the ways creativity is changing our collective approach business in the modern age, just as our spaces are evolving to meet the changing face of work.
Originality, Innovation and Functionality
Creativity is not necessarily an inherent skill and there is an understanding among professionals that you can learn, practice and cultivate creativity just as you can any other vocational skill. Individuals who are able to connect three parts of the brain- mind wandering, focused thinking, and selective attention- were found in a 2014 study to be the most successful ‘idea generators’. Experts suggest that for some, an inane doodle can help stimulate innovative thought. In the same way, handwriting a note acts as a way to synthesise information from multiple neural signals through a single, physical, sensory act. Identifying your method of finding, using and channeling creativity becomes a way of improving your work in a productive and impactful way. As a leading voice in technical creative product, Adobe (who have previously identified ‘unabashed creativity’ as the way they plan on ‘thwarting the robots’) have experimented with quantifying and qualifying creative types. In the same way an aptitude test works, their ‘test’ establishes strengths, weaknesses and insights into best practices for the individual. If you’re curious, take the test here.
Never underestimate the impact of a thoughtful workspace set-up when it comes to creative thinking.
The Future of Work
Creativity stands to shape the future of work in three primary ways;
· Re-establishing the hierarchy of valued professional attributes and job functions
· Acting as a strategy in itself for long term growth and survival
· Providing a framework for innovation
FastCompany reports that “40% of professions will be automated in the next 15 years”. In light of looming digitisation and automation for so many industries, creativity will certainly prove to be a huge asset in terms of problem solving abilities, tangible skills in observation and unique perception. In short, it is one of the few qualities that machines, not matter how cutting-edge, have been able to replicate. McKinsey & Co. note that in the automated future, “Social, emotional, and higher cognitive skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, and complex information processing, will also see growing demand.”
Propelling the demand for creatives and skills closely connected to the industry diversifies the global economy and sets the scene for a more dynamic corporate landscape. McKinsey & Co. further explain that creativity has the ability to disrupt the world’s most dynamic economies and in fact, they rely on this to grow;
“True dynamism flows from continuous innovation, experimentation, adaptation, and change, all of which raise productivity over time. This fuels more innovation—and a dynamic economy thus expands in a healthy, sustainable way.”
The underlying issue with this idea is the questions that managers or decision makers are asking. Rather than asking “How do we find new ideas?”, the ability to create an environment where new ideas flourish is central to future profitability and growth.
Convergent and divergent thinking is the current dichotomy in action. Rather than thinking reactively or inwardly to solve a challenge, companies are taking proactive cues from the market itself. There is evidence that those who integrate data and creativity are likely to grow twice when compared to those who do not. The struggle for most organisations in this case, lies in their creative literacy and the ability for a business to express their perspective creatively.
And this is where we can help….
The Thinking Game
With over 25 years of experience designing flexible workspaces, creative practice plays a significant, varied and evolving role in our work – everything from pushing our own boundaries, to helping support and challenge those of our Members. With the rise of the machine, algorithms are used in a way that feed off patterns in behaviour. However, no algorithm can genuinely replicate human creativity because it is entirely antithetical to the way AI functions. The unexpected, intangible and unpredictable sits at the heart of the creative process. For us, it is being able to distinguish the important data in the behaviours of our Members from the valuable observations of sporadic human nature which enables us to support creative work and thought.
Providing varied, interesting, stimulating design that is conducive to collaboration is one part of the equation. Balancing this with the somewhat counter-intuitive ‘quiet spaces’ is the key to executing this kind of space. Being able to work while feeding off of the people around you while also finding new novelty in the mundane.
Our spaces are designed to inspire ‘out of the box’ thinking and creative problem solving.
We find ourselves redefining creativity. What it means, what its capable of and how it works. Creative destruction is the essential for significant, secure growth. Creativity is the new model of narrative control- for large multinational corporations, for small start-up enterprises and for individuals who are looking to distinguish themselves professionally because it offers a point of difference and a marker for their contribution to a business’s value.