Work does not have to be boring. It can be creative and fun. It can also be profitable.
But this raises some questions:
- How do you put your creativity to work?
- How do you turn your artistic talent into something that pays the bills?
Let’s get the ball rolling by defining creativity.
What is Creativity?
In The Courage to Create, Rollo May offers us an insight about creativity:
“Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being. Creativity requires passion and commitment. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life. The experience is one of heightened consciousness: ecstasy.”
We can think of creativity as the act of turning an imaginative idea into reality. This is because the creative act forces us to see the world in a new way. We begin noticing patterns hiding in plain view and see from a fresh perspective. As we practice creative thinking, we connect unrelated ideas. As we do, we come up with unique solutions.
So, in essence, creativity is a way of thinking followed by a way of producing results. Imagination alone is not creative because creativity is turning ideas into things. Creative thinking is fun because it leads to creative self-expression.
Creativity at Work
While creativity can be fun by itself, is it possible to introduce creativity into work?
Yes. But you have to take risks. You also have to progress past discomfort, and you have to finish what you start.
In Defying the Crowd, authors Sternberg and Lubart say, “A product is creative when it is (a) novel and (b) appropriate. A novel product is original not predictable. The bigger the concept, and the more the product stimulates further work and ideas, the more the product is creative.”
So creativity is not only fun, when used in the context of work, it stimulates innovation.
The Role of Innovation
Innovation can be creating a new product or service. It can also be improving an existing product or service. Innovation provides value to consumers, and as a result, it helps business and society.
Creativity and innovation are both disciplines, and they both complement each other.
An Age of Innovation
In fact, when you think about it, we are now living in an age of creativity. Breakthroughs in technology in 2015 are a result of creative thoughts leading to innovative results. Most of the major technology firms are the brainchildren of creative founders.
While technology may be more clustered in some countries, it is global in scope. Civilization itself is in the midst of a creative explosion.
Work through the Ages
In A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink walks us through the stages of work and civilization. After the hunter-gatherers had settled down, they created civilization by turning to farming. The Agriculture Age persisted for centuries. Then in the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution emerged. It resulted in factories, and most people made their living as factory workers.
Now the Industrial Age is fading away. We are emerging into the information age. This is an era of knowledge workers. Most people who enjoy well-paid work are some form of knowledge workers.
But Pink doesn’t stop here. He sees civilization as moving into yet another age. He forecasts an era of creators and empathizers. He calls this the Conceptual Age. In the Conceptual age, most work will be creative and innovative.
The World According to IBM
Pink is not alone. IBM also predicted how the information age will transform into a creative economy. An IBM 2010 Global study said: “The effects of rising complexity calls for CEOs and their teams to lead with bold creativity to connect with customers in imaginative ways and design their operations for speed and flexibility to position their organizations for twenty-first century success.”
It’s Your Turn
If creativity and innovation is the way of the future, how do you sign up?
The best way might be to get educated in a creative field. You will express your creativity when you find work already creative in nature. You can sign up for exciting web design courses, learn how to write software programs, or discover the world of industrial design. Right now, there are many jobs that need creative people. They are desperate for creative thinkers. In 2010, about 5 million technology jobs will go unfilled.
Yes, it’s possible to find creative work outside technology. But technology is the meeting point between creative work and well-paid work. Besides the work itself, you will meet and work other creative people.
Roadmap to Success
Since, technological jobs need creative thinkers, here is a roadmap to success:
First, develop a creative way of thinking.
Second, transform creative thinking into innovation.
Third, participate in the most dynamic field on the planet right now–the world of technology.
Fourth, begin by getting a technical education.
Fifth, once you’re in a technological sector, you will be you will be well-paid for your work because your creativity will lead to innovation.