Photograph of person writing Be Creative in paper
Image by Randlon

According to a new report from LinkedIn—2019 Global Talent Trends: The 4 Trends Transforming Your Workplace—employers will soon have to compete fiercely to attract the best talent. And, like other projections about what the future workplace might look like, the LinkedIn report names soft skills as the most in-demand employee competency employers will be looking for.

What tops the list of the soft skills employers will need most? Creativity.

 

What is creativity?

A definition can be tricky to pin down. We know it involves using the imagination for artistic expression and to create original works. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, psychologist and author of numerous books on creativity and flow, says that “most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the results of creativity.”

…most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the results of creativity.

—Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

For an entertaining take on what creativity is, watch education researcher Trevor Strong’s musical response in his video Creativity in Education:

 

We often think of creativity as something people either have or don’t have, like a trait. But creativity can be taught, and it’s important to think of it instead as a skill that can be developed and improved.

In the workplace, creativity is linked to problem solving and innovation. It’s also referred to as creative problem solving, and this is defined by the Creative Education Foundation as “a proven method for approaching a problem or challenge in an imaginative and innovative way.”

From the LinkedIn report: “While many people associate creativity with art or design, it’s a skill that’s applicable to almost any role. Creativity is simply solving problems in original ways—a skill that machines can’t easily replicate.”

While many people associate creativity with art or design, it’s a skill that’s applicable to almost any role.

—LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends

 

What is creative problem solving?

Defined this way, it’s easy to see why creativity is viewed as a key job skill for the future. With new technologies and jobs that don’t yet exist, it makes sense that innovation and original thinking will be highly valued.

Recognizing the coming demand for creative problem solving skills, Adobe conducted a study asking educators, policymakers and influencers to define and explain their importance.

In an infographic that captures the study’s findings, creative problem solving is broken down further, and includes the following top skills:

  • independent learning
  • learning through success and failure
  • working with diverse teams
  • self-expression and dialogue
  • persistence, grit and entrepreneurial spirit
  • accepting challenges and taking risks
  • conflict management and argument
  • innovative thinking
 

Boost your creativity

According to the website Creativity at Work, people are born creative but these abilities diminish over time: “For most, creativity has been buried by rules and regulations. Our educational system was designed during the Industrial Revolution over 200 years ago, to train us to be good workers and follow instructions.”

The good news is, you can become more creative. Here are a few things you can do to get started:

Are you creative on the job? Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and tell us how creativity brings added value to your work. Watch our feeds for monthly contests to win a free online course from Professional Studies at Queen’s.