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The True Purpose of Creativity

When organizations are recruiting, the phrase “looking for creative individuals” frequently pops up on many job ads. Why do businesses want outside-the-box thinkers so badly? In corporate settings, creatives are usually called in to conceptualize solutions that can please customers. 

However, this isn’t the best way of understanding creativity. Increasingly, creativity has been pushed further and further away from the real needs of people. Many companies fall into the trap of creating gimmicks, rather than something truly revolutionary. 

We’ll let you in on a secret: Real creativity doesn’t try hard to please an audience. Creativity cares more about getting a reaction rather than approval. Only the truly unique and out-of-this world creative work inspires people and stirs up emotions. 

Creativity For All The Wrong Reasons

Society has an unspoken assumption that being creative gives us an edge, a competitive advantage. We think that creativity stems from a desire to win above others. However, the best kind of creativity should come from a deeper place. 

The inherent creativity humans possess are from a desire to contribute to the lives of others. Inventors create to improve the lives of other people or prove the impossible to be possible. Artists invite others to change their perceptions and strive to contribute to humanity. In short, creativity done for the right reasons helps people face possibilities and makes them feel understood. 

Most people also limit creativity to the confines of an art class. While many concepts we learn from art like color and design are applied to a lot of creative works, creativity can be applied to more than just an art student. 

Take the smartphone as an example. 

The invention of the smartphone has had a significant impact on the daily lives of every smartphone owner. It’s one of the greatest developments in the past century, giving us the power to access information and connect with other users everywhere on the globe. 

Was the smartphone a creative invention? Absolutely. 

Smartphones help people improve the quality of their lives and solve many problems using one tool. Creativity can be deployed in any meaningful and fulfilling activities, even in the rows and columns of a spreadsheet or the code inside a program. And when logic and creativity meet, we usually get innovation. 

Why Creativity Is Important 

To say that creativity is merely an asset is an understatement. Creativity is the essential ingredient that can help you generate output that leaves your audience in shock and awe. For content creation, creativity is what gets people to share your work or write comments. Here are a few reasons why you should cultivate creativity in every aspect of your business: 

  1. Creativity keeps you ahead of the curve. 

In a study conducted by Forrester Consulting and Adobe, they found that 82% of companies think successful business results have a lot to do with creative thinking

When you are driven by creativity, you’ll never worry about being left behind your competitors. Instead of chasing after the next big thing, being creative allows you to set your own trends and compete with yourself. Maybe you learn to dream up new ways of transforming your products or services or find a unique way to market yourself. Regardless of where your competitors are, creativity keeps you focused on your own endeavors. 

  1. Creativity pushes your problem-solving skills.

Long before smartphones came in vogue, everyone was using telephone booths to keep in touch with other people, to the point that the phone booth company was losing money. The company wanted to figure out how to shorten the time people spent inside the phone booth. They eventually realized that they had to make the handset heavier to prompt people to end the call faster. This slight modification helped reduce call lengths drastically. 

Organizations never run out of problems: customer service issues, financial issues, business model issues, staffing issues, marketing issues -- there will always be unforeseen problems that require efficient solutions. Creative thinking can improve the solutions you come up with. 

  1. Creativity paves the way for market disruption.

In the past few decades, we have seen the rise of organizations like Netflix, Uber, and AirBnB. These businesses have disrupted their industries and addressed large gaps in the market. Instead of renting DVDs, hailing a cab, or checking into an expensive hotel room, these businesses found a foothold in our daily lives, to the point that we can’t imagine life without them anymore. 

When you combine old ideas with new needs, you’re stretching your creative powers. By looking for inspiration everywhere, you can look at the same thing as everyone else and see it a completely different way. 

Innovation: How Creativity Can Leave An Impact 

In 1999, low cost airline JetBlue announced that they would “bring humanity back to air travel”. It put TV sets in the backs of seats, upholstered chairs in leather, and added more leg space for each seat. Their empathetic approach was met with enthusiasm from travelers everywhere. Today, they are the 7th largest airline in the United States. 

So why is creativity necessary for survival? How can our creative ideas impact our audiences? 

Creativity drives us to innovate. 

Innovation is creativity in action. While creativity pertains to thoughts and the intangible products of our imagination, innovation puts those ideas to work. Innovation introduces new products or procedures that address a previously unidentified need. 

Simply put, innovation is introducing something new. 

Traditionally, innovation has largely been associated with research and development or new inventions. With the Internet, however, it has become easier to access information and cutting-edge tools. Now, most of our modern innovations aren’t a direct result of commercialized research. 

Instead we are applying existing knowledge, resources, and technologies to solving problems. One way of visualizing innovation is how we put the pieces of the puzzle together. In businesses, there are four innovation approaches you can realistically try to pursue even without a lot of prior experience. These are: 

  • Process Innovation: Every organization has formal and informal business processes that were created for a reason, but very few processes are perfect. Some businesses even retain certain processes, even when these can be easily simplified. Minor internal adjustments can save you money and time in the long-run, so don’t hesitate to ask your employees how they would improve the processes related to their work. 
  • Product Innovation: Your products or services will always have room for improvement. One problem you might encounter is having too many ideas you want to implement. If you’re thinking about innovating an existing product, you need to prioritize what innovations to pursue based on what your target customers need. 
  • Customer Service Innovation: A solid customer experience will let your organization stand strong regardless of emerging competition. Ask your front-line employees for what your major pain points and opportunities are, then begin innovating from there. 
  • Business Model Innovation: When you choose to innovate your business model, expect a profound business on your business and the market in general. Many industries have moved from selling individual products to subscription services or value-based pricing strategies in the last few years. While these are big changes for your business, you can have a sustainable competitive advantage if you find the right model that matches your organization’s strengths. 

5 Tips For Boosting Creativity And Innovation

Creativity and innovation are popular topics among researchers these days. Some studies suggest that certain conditions like moderate noise levels and low lighting help enhance creativity, while alcohol intoxication even improves creative problem solving. Everyone wants to foster creativity in their environments. 

If you’re an employer hoping to boost innovation in your workplace, here are six suggestions you can follow to inspire your staff to be more creative: 

  • Allot time for going outdoors: People are more creative when they’re allowed to connect with nature, so spending time outside is part of the creative process. Maybe you can allow your employees to work at a local park or create an area in your office that has a little more sunshine and greenery. Encourage employees to take breaks for fresh-air every now and then as well. 
  • Set some parameters: While being free to “think outside the box” is great, it doesn’t always yield the best results. Having too much freedom may actually prevent you from being creative, because you aren’t forced to work within existing rules. Imposing parameters like a reasonable budget limit on some projects will prompt your employees to dig a little deeper - and maybe strike some gold. 
  • Offer private work areas: While open office floor plans have become the trend, many people feel more free to be creative when they’re in a private environment. Don’t worry that your employees would be too solitary since most of them will still find a way to collaborate when they need to. 
  • Form diverse work groups: It’s difficult to think of anything new when everyone in the group thinks similarly. Diverse teams would allow creative minds to exchange ideas and solve problems together. Your employees would be more refreshed as they hear opinions, see new approaches, and build their thinking process off each other.
  • Let employees pick their own methods: Employees are most creative when they can work their own way. Whenever possible, allow your employees to form their own system or method of doing things to prevent suppressing their creativity. It’s also good to let employees take breaks from regular tasks, projects, or assignments to help their minds regroup. 

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