What are some of the most creative industries? Maybe you’re thinking about marketing and the arts, or professions like graphic designers and comic artists. Well, yes, they are creative, but still, they don’t really have a monopoly on creativity in the workplace. In fact, most industries use creativity in some way or another, and it is a highly sought-after skill in several professions.
Want to find out more about how important creativity is in business? Keep reading to learn what leading publications have to say about it.
For students at Harvard Business School Online, creativity is more than a concept, it’s a way to live and breathe business. Michael Boyles, a marketing specialist who continuously contributes to the school’s blog, argues that creativity must not only be present in all aspects of business but that it offers unique benefits and that there is a strategy for learning how to be creative in corporate settings. That which he mentions is Design Thinking.
The main benefits he lists are:
“Design thinking—a concept gaining popularity in the business world—is a solutions-based process that ventures between the concrete and abstract. Creativity and innovation are key to the design thinking process.”
To really get into the creative groove, there must be more than just sitting down and imagining. This is where design thinking comes into play as a step-by-step structure to really connect the operational, structured side of business with the innovation-creativity fueled side.
The stages of design thinking are broken down into four steps:
Creativity is essential in life, but it is key to drive business growth. At least, that’s what Sean Peek argues in his Business News article. There are important differences in both concepts, which is why it’s important to understand each concept and how they blend into one another.
But what is creativity? “The capability or act of conceiving something original or unusual,” in the words of Shawn Hunter, author of Out Think: How Innovative Leaders Drive Exceptional Outcomes. Meanwhile, Peek says that innovation is creativity put into action.
“Together, creativity and innovation involve rocking the boat. Entrepreneurship depends every day on creation and innovation to create unique opportunities, market disruption and new revenue streams.”
No business is perfect, and being able to recognize the shortcomings of an operation and how to turn them around through creativity and innovation can completely redefine the business, like Starbucks and its Frappuccino. Not only that, if companies fail to predict these potential failings, it can lead to the rise of other businesses that will compete to fill in the gaps.
Okay, now we know that creativity and innovation are part of business growth, how can you foster it? According to several studies, Aruna Ranganathan of the Harvard Business Review concludes that asynchronous work is the answer.
The rise of remote work and flexible schedules has been a godsend and a challenge for workers, as they don’t need to be in a single place working to churn out a project. Instead, with asynchronous work, people can work when there’s a strike of inspiration or in between doing other things, thus furthering their creativity.
To test this theory, Ranganathan and Aayan Das tested it with a study on Baulk folk musicians in India. They found that “women’s performances were rated 17% higher when they recorded asynchronously.” That was because of “safe communication climates,” a need identified in other studies, especially those featuring women, people of color, and other minorities, to fully thrive.
“By amplifying underrepresented voices in creative spaces, asynchronicity can provide a way forward to a more equitable future of work.”
Still, this does not mean that synchronized work is useless. There are many contexts in which having team gatherings help tackle new ideas and revolutionize businesses. All in all, asynchronous work is another way to foster creativity within teams, especially diverse ones.
Creativity is not only fuel to the fire of a growing business, it can also be the key to connecting with audiences. In Rudy Mawer’s article for Entrepreneur, he not only stresses the fact that new businesses are born out of creativity but that they only survive by finding an audience.
“By utilizing creativity, you can impact three areas of your business: efficiency, growth and success down the road. Because the reality is, entrepreneurship is full of figuring out how to open doors that were slammed in your face.”
Companies need clients to sell their products and services to, and though they may have some incredible material, if they neglect their audience, the insights, or communications with them, things can become stale. Staleness is the ultimate adversary to growth.
What Mawer argues is in line with other articles cited in this piece. Creativity helps broaden perspectives, allowing people to see things in a new way and to find problems, and most importantly, the solutions.
Creativity can help in many areas of business, especially for entrepreneurs. Developing creativity as a soft skill can create many tangible rewards for a start-up or diversify the offerings of a well-known company. Focusing on the creative side of business can help bring in new people, but there is a thin line to walk on, if the innovation is too creative and only a few get it, it can fall off into the abyss. Still, fostering a good environment and encouraging imagination while still being practical is essential for any company’s growth.
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