Why is Creativity Important?

Creativity is necessary for all human achievement. It is the foundation of a fulfilling childhood and a necessity for adult success. It is deemed one of the most important leadership qualities in the future and one of three essential skills in the next ten years. It is the engine behind productivity and the economy. Despite these now well-established conclusions, creativity is still being stifled at schools, undermined in education, and suppressed at work.

Education is the system that is supposed to develop children’s natural abilities and enable them to make their way in the world. Instead, it is stifling the talents and abilities of too many students and killing their motivation to learn. While everyone has great creative capacities, many never realize them, because our educational systems never enable students to develop their natural creative powers. Instead, they promote uniformity and standardization. Schools are draining people of their creative possibilities and producing a workforce that’s conditioned to prioritize conformity over creativity.

Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. It is often used in combination with convergent thinking, which follows logical steps to arrive at one solution. Divergent thinking typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing, ‘non-linear’ manner, such that many ideas are generated in an emergent cognitive fashion. Many possible solutions are explored in a short amount of time, and unexpected connections are drawn. After the process of divergent thinking, ideas and information are organized and refined using convergent thinking.

One reason Silicon Valley has thrived is because it is populated by people who slipped through the educational net. These mavericks challenge the system, take risks, and do not care what people think. In short, they are people who didn’t have their creativity stifled by a traditional education system. We need more of these innovators. Traditionally, creatives who are promoted into the ranks of leadership have not always fared well. This too must change. We need more creative leaders, people who are both business-minded and creative. Most importantly, we need creative people in the boardroom. Only when creative people begin to effect change in the boardroom will the world of business become more innovative.

Now the creative class is over 40 million strong and growing. At its core are the architects, scientists, designers, educators, engineers, artists, musicians, and entertainers whose economic function is to generate new ideas, technology, and content. Included in the list are the creative professions of business, finance, law, and related fields in which workers engage in complex problem-solving that requires independent thinking.

  • 94% of hiring managers consider creativity when hiring job candidates. Creative applicants are preferred 5-to-1.
  • 88% believe creativity is becoming more important to business.
  • 86% of education majors say creativity is important in their career.
  • 82% surveyed wanted more exposure to creative thinking as students
  • 85% of professionals agree creative thinking is critical for problem solving in their career.
  • 82% of professionals wish they had more exposure to creative thinking as students.
  • 80% of people feel that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth.
  • 78% professionals say creativity is very important to their career.
  • 75% of education majors viewed creativity as vital in school.
  • 75% of people believe they are not living up to their own creative potential.
  • 72% of creatives desire to learn new things.
  • 71% surveyed say creative thinking must be taught as a course, like math and science.
  • Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed feel creativity is valuable to society.
  • Globally, people said they spend only 25% of their time at work being creative.
  • Over half of those surveyed feel that creativity is being stifled by their education systems.
  • 58% feel that they lack the necessary skills and resources to succeed as a creative.
  • The 2017 US creative industry is $43.9 billion: this is a 45% increase from 2011.
  • Jamie Gallagher, Faber-Castell CEO, says creativity is part of a larger resurgence of appreciation for creative thinking in business and education.