You hear it all around and witness it being an imperative skill in job specs, creativity sure has come a long way from being a topic/skill/way of thinking, to what it is today. Whilst Wikipedia uses the term “phenomenon” in its definition of creativity, you and I can both agree that creativity and creative skills are no longer reserved for those interested in careers in the creative industries. So how exactly has this transformation happened?
Old school thought: Art reflects creativity
In the good old days, creativity and creative skills began and ended with individuals such as painters, sculptors, movie makers and authors. You would have found it nearly impossible to sell yourself with exceptional creative thinking skills unless you’re great with art, writing or design. In the past’s defence though, given that several industries that exist today, such as the tech industry, were still relatively in their infancy, it is no wonder creativity was not as abound as a skill to have as it is today.
The Tech revolution’s impact
There is no denying the tech revolution’s impact on creativity let alone the rest of everything else in the world. From wireless technologies to cloud computing, seeds of such inventions have grown from not only the brilliant technical insights of tech whizzes but also due to their ability to see potential and opportunity for where there perhaps were not any initially at first glance.
Market and Idea saturation
While creativity can be considered as the act of bringing-to-life novel ideas, concepts and theories (see the similarity to that of the process of innovation?- not a coincidence), creative thinking fuels this act. Creative thinking is perhaps one of the fundamental skills that compounds all inventors, tech geniuses, the people who work at Google and increasingly the kind of people that your potential hiring manager is looking for.
A quite apparent reason for the increasing demand for creative thinkers in several industries today is due to the saturated environments and markets that most companies operate in. Ideas are usually no longer novel enough for several brands, neither are tried-and-tested ways to solve problems as appreciated anymore. Instead, most brands and agencies look for individuals who can think in novel ways to build upon common ideas - exhibiting creative thinking as a part of their daily responsibilities on the job.
Can creativity be learned?
All this begs the question, for someone who’s not explored their creative thinking or does not have the confidence in their ability to be creative (yet), can creativity be learned?
Creativity is not exactly a fixed trait, and thereby can be developed and honed with consistent practice. The next time you encounter a problem or a task that needs completing, try taking some time out to think and research other possibilities that could take you to your end result without having to rely on tried-and-tested methods. Like every form of learning though, be prepared to encounter biases in the form of relative discomfort you may feel at abandoning your usual patterns of thinking. Creative thinkers are used to uncertainty and ambiguity in the process of developing ideas and solving problems. It’s definitely a skill that’s on demand and one that lucky for most of us, can be learned with practice.
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