Creativity is the most important asset we have to negotiate through this rapidly changing world. From the way we manage our work life and conduct business, to how we learn a new skill, model behaviours for our children and shape the way we age to express our unique selves, the creativebrain has no limits. By broadening the applicability of creativity and recognising how it can elevate us both personally and professionally, we can start to realise the enormous reach we can have as leaders, managers and educators.
As leaders we can have more impact as we learn the skills of effective and creative leadership to enable us to manage the challenges faced by our workplace teams, organisations and the society at large.
Let's start with the world we work in... the so called VUCA world. As well as death and taxes, the other thing we can be certain of in life … is change. VUCA is a managerial acronym to describe the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous nature of business.
It emphasises the volatile characteristics of instability and speed of change, information gaps and unpredictability of the future leading to uncertainty, the overwhelming and complex nature of relationships and information, and the lack of clarity or the unknown unknowns leading to ambiguity.
It characterises the world of work, as for many of us we’ll no longer have a lifelong career in one role, job and even discipline because of the nature and pace of this change. We can already see this with the growth of contract work in a gig economy leading to the need for adaptive and flexible work approaches.
Given the world of work is facing an even increasingly VUCA environment, what does this mean for creativity?
My own 2016 study on understanding organisational creativity in small-to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) concluded that while limited by resources, people and finances, SMEs know that to stay competitive, creativity and innovation are vital if the sector is to grow and thrive. Creativity and innovation are no longer buzzwords for the more adventurous large corporations to pursue. Instead there’s growing recognition that these approaches are fundamental to any proactive organisation.
But how do you know if that organisation you think you want to work with understands this?
We’re looking for workplaces that know that creativity can benefit every function of the organisation and this is represented in the culture, seen in the leadership behaviours and even found in the ubiquitous mission statement.
Both the book and online program 'The Creative Advantage Life Cycle: Cultivating Creativity in the Workplace' focus on how to pursue creativity in your workplace, to enhance your own individual skills and the organisation’s ability to succeed through creativity and innovation. It specifically seeks to answer questions most frequently asked in the scoping of this section of The Creative Advantage program series, particularly from GenY managers:
- What are the indicators that show an organisation values creative approaches?
- What role does motivation plays in your response to creativity in the workplace and exploring your own attitude to this?
- How do I transform from a manager to a creative leader and foster a more a creative workplace environment?
The resources provide a number of reflective activities to support you to apply this information to your own situation. These are presented in parts to help you build your own approach to identifying what environment factors are important to support your own intrinsic motivation, then exploring how you would apply this when seeking a new role. It also provides an exercise for those of you already in managerial roles to assess to what degree you’re managing for creativity and, if not, where you might focus to develop your own, and staff,creative competencies.
For more information on the book 'The Creative Advantage Life Cycle - Enhance your creativity throughout all stages of your life' or the online program 'Cultivating Creativity in the Workplace', check out the summary