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The Importance of Creativity to Advance our Professional Lives

Pre -recorded presentation at the Career Security Summit March 2021

· Organisational,Updates - News



A presentation to the Career Security Summit, broadcast from 14-18 March to highlight how creativity can enhance our professional lives.

It introduces the topic by exploring what’s defining the world we work in today and the dominate trends that necessitate a change in the way we work and create and point to the need to develop creative skillsets to assist to navigate the new economy.

It covers

  •  Information Overload and Attention Deficient
  • The Uncertainty of Work
  • Workplace Trends
  • Future Proofing People
  • The Growth of Artificial Intelligence

What does this summary of the dominant trends tell us?

Authors Chris Lewis and Pippa Malmgren in The Leadership Lab advise us to learn from the leadership lessons of the past, that all share a common denominator. They believe “Leadership fails when there is a lack of imagination. Problems happen where there is an inability or unwillingness to envisage alternative possibilities.”

The most enduring advantage that will assist individuals and organisations to stay ahead is their ability to learn and stay curious. People will always be better at imagination and creativity than computers.

“The future belongs to people who are curious. People who are inclined to set off on intellectual adventures will have more opportunities to do so than ever… people who merely seek quick answers to someone else’s questions will fall out of the habit of asking their own or never ask them in the first place”.

The next section of the presentation introduce a key model called the Creative Elements Model. It has four key elements that are important as we can influence these to increase our creativity. I’ve adapted, deconstructed and simplified it to emphasise the key areas that we can directly influence.

This model is based on work undertaken by Professor Teresa Amabile, from the Harvard Business School, known for her long term research on creativity. Her team has created a neat theory that helps us to understand the four elements that when aligned can assist us to take full advantage of creating the best creative outcome.

A quick summary of each of the four components: They are intrinsic task motivation, domain expertise, creativity relevant processes and, an external component, the social or work environment.

Intrinsic motivation explores one’s passion, willingness to engage and the desire to solve a problem for the mere challenge and satisfaction of working on it. It’s opposite to extrinsic motivators that arise from rewards, competition, evaluation or a requirement to do something in a certain way.

Domain expertise, are the knowledge, technical skills or talent in an individual’s given domain. These are necessary resources, skills and raw materials that individuals will draw upon as they move through the creative process.

The Creativity Relevant Processes are the skills or techniques we use to approach a given problem to generate solutions and examine it from various angles, combine our knowledge from various fields and depart from status quo responses. They may vary depending on personality characteristics that are conducive to independence, risk-taking and taking new perspectives on problems, as well as a disciplined work style and tools to generate ideas.

The fourth element is the Social Environment, or the Work Environment, This element exists outside of the individual. We’ll learn that as individuals or organisations, it’s the area we can most influence, either positivity or negativity, to affect our creative expression.

It then covers how we can use these elements to develop your own strategy to increase your approach to creativity.
Finally it explores the Influence of the Social and Work Environment, the final element of this model and an external element. This refers to the areas of influence in across your personal, social and work environments. It’s particularly relevant in building a creative life as parents, nurturing a child’s creativity through schooling and as managers in the workplace. The research clearly shows that the work environment has a significant effect on a person’s level of intrinsic motivation, which in turn affects that person’s creativity.
It does this by taking participants through a reflective exercise to help determine what's important in the workplace to support intrinsic motivation.

It also provides a free guide: ‘Managers Guide to Enhance Workplace Creativity’ available here.

Presentation at the Career Security Summit about the importance of creativity to advance our professional lives

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