3 secrets to an ‘authentically creative’ workforce

In the age of robots, creativity will continue to set humans apart from machines

3 secrets to an ‘authentically creative’ workforce

In the age of robots, creativity will continue to set humans apart from machines.

Robots may offer us precision when it comes to monitoring and measuring data. But humans still have the upper hand when it comes to conceptualising ideas, structures, and processes, and inventing what is yet-to-exist.

As marketing guru Harry Lang once put it, artificial intelligence will “seemingly struggle to replicate the very human frailties and perceived weaknesses from which creative greatness so often stems.”

This is also the reason senior executives value creativity – along with strategy, critical thinking, empathy, and communication – as among the most crucial soft skills of the future.

But how can talent development managers build a creative workforce? A recent study by Gallup showed three key ingredients to fostering creativity in the workplace:

1. Expectations to be creative at work
Only 29% of workers report they are expected to be creative or think up new ways of doing things at work. Introducing some degree of pressure in the workplace can spark creativity, the results showed.

“While we’re all capable of finding new ways to help our company succeed,” Gallup said, “we may not put in much effort, or feel welcome to, unless creativity is expressly required.”

2. Time to be creative
More than a third of workers (35%) say they are allowed time to get creative only a few times a year, the study revealed. Even among workers who “strongly agree” that they are expected to be creative, only a little more than half (52%) are actually given time to percolate ideas on a daily basis.

Gallup suggests: “Scheduling time for creativity ensures that it happens, shows that creativity is a cultural value to the organisation, and gives managers something tangible to measure.”

3. Freedom to take the risks necessary to be creative
Creativity at work ultimately relies on a third factor for it to flourish: the freedom to take risks. However, fewer than one in five employees (18%) “strongly agree” they can take risks that may lead to new products, services, or solutions.

“If workers believe new ideas are unwelcome, or that well-intentioned failures will be punished, they’ll shut down. They’ll be less creative, of course, but they may also be less willing to help co-workers, offer advice or flag unsafe practices,” Gallup said.

“Of course, the opposite is equally true – leaders who encourage and support constructive risk-taking have cultures that feel safe and emotionally positive.”

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