I don’t know the answer to the question about the importance of creativity in business? I know how important creativity should be in business. I’m just unsure how business feels about it?

Quotes and studies abound supporting the notion that creativity is an important component in a business context. Take this one from Business News Daily….

A study by Adobe and Forrester Consulting found that 82 percent of companies believe there is a strong connection between creativity and business results. In fact, companies that actively foster creative thinking outperform their rivals in revenue growth, market share and competitive leadership, according to the report.

There’s also an IBM study from 2010 (I know, light years ago, right?) that leads with…

Global CEO Study: Creativity Selected as Most Crucial Factor for Future Success

The list is endless, and I’m not questioning the research or critiquing the papers I’ve quoted above.

I’m just not convinced that I’ve met more than a handful of companies (outside of obvious creative companies) who authentically encourage the creative development of human beings within their organisation. They do pay lip service to the idea, and they may even, from time to time, invite creative humans in from the outside, but as for practically demonstrating that increasing creativity is valuable pursuit, not so much.

I’ve seen the inside of quite a number of companies, and I’ve spoken to my fair share of people working inside of those companies. I’ve attended their conferences, sat in on their training, and I’ve listened to their leaders speak about the things that are important. What I don’t see or hear much of is creativity. What I mostly see or hear are things like ‘back to basics’, and ‘the three things’ and ‘discipline’ and the ‘[company name] Way’. These all strongly point to getting into line, and doing things the one way we’re pretty sure it will work. However, these things also speak to ‘don’t think’, ‘don’t imagine’, ‘don’t try anything that’s not within the narrow boundaries we’ve set for you to work within’.

‘Innovation’ at Vodacom

Of course the poster child at the time of writing this is Vodacom. That they still haven’t found a settlement with Please Call Me inventor,¬†Nkosana Makate (at the time of writing this), speaks straight into the ‘creativity in our people isn’t valued’ paradigm. You can imagine the message they’re sending to their current employees. How many Vodacom employees do you imagine are rushing to tell their boss about the incredible innovation they came up with today, knowing that they’ll be fairly rewarded for their effort? (but all that for another post)

10 Quick Yes/No Questions on Creativity

If you’ve got 2 minutes, I’d love to know how you feel / what you think about creativity within your world and you organisation? I don’t need to know who you are, or what company you work in. Below are 10 simple and mostly yes/no questions to answer. It’d be great if you’d answer them. Results will be posted back on this site (and the Calidascope Blog) in a few weeks time.

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Barrie is a business keynote speaker, specialising in Future Thinking, Change, Disruption and Generational Theory