Why creativity is so important in Business ?

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by - Alan Caugant, CEO SUPERHUMAIN™

It’s an old saying and perhaps a tired one: the only constant is change. But it’s difficult to ignore how crucial that statement is for business. If companies want to survive, innovation is the only way forward. As the CEO of several companies that we are supporting at SuperHumain™, say:

“… Change is coming, the robots are here and the roles that will be created are ones that require comprehensive cognition, and it takes extreme skill. Creativity is and will be the most sought-after human skill in the corporate space”

The importance of creativity

But how crucial is creativity in business, really?

According to a survey by Forrester Consulting, the answer is… very! In their report, ‘The Creative Dividend’, Forrester found that the companies that fostered creativity achieved greater revenue growth than their counterparts. They also had greater market share and were able to attract talent in the form of competitive leadership.

Companies are now making creativity a business goal. It features heavily on their list of priorities, and processes and funding are being directed towards fostering this skill. Let’s take a look at why creativity has found such a prominent role in how businesses are run.

The role of creativity in businesses

Dealing with change
The global landscape today is defined by change. Technology is disrupting the world faster than can be analysed and companies often have to be two steps ahead to stay competitive and relevant. Flexibility becomes key, as does addressing the change head on with innovative and new solutions.

Creative thinking is the one skill that makes this possible. In an IBM survey, more than 1,500 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) from over 60 countries and 33 industries ranked creativity as the number one skill in helping their companies deal with a complex and ever-changing world. It was defined as a priority, above rigour, company vision and management discipline. According to the survey, the majority of CEOs surveyed saw creativity as the only quality that could help them navigate a complex business environment characterised by several large-scale and volatile shifts. Creativity is the key to survival.

The differentiating factor

In today’s highly competitive landscape, creativity is also being viewed as a differentiating factor. Companies that are considered creative are able to sell more products – they’re also able to be more flexible and adaptable, and thus able to better address their consumers’ needs.

Companies that are seen as innovative and creative automatically have a competitive edge in the marketplace. Apple is a prime example of this. The company has become so synonymous with creativity that simply flashing the Apple logo can inspire people to be more creative. Such companies attract talent, as the workforce is always looking to stay relevant in the markets of the future. They attract top leadership, as management sees the opportunity to create real change. And they get more customers, because their creativity means they’ve addressed wants that no one knew they had, but that then become an integral part of the social fabric – like the iPod.

Creative thinking in supply chain management

A lot of reviews and articles have spoken about how the supply chain is being revolutionised by technology. Each year, Material Handlings and Logistics does a review of the most innovative technology advancements in supply chain management. Lists have included autonomous forklifts, flying warehouses, bridge-inspecting drones – you name it.

Yet, in all the hullaballoo about how tech is disrupting the supply chain, human innovation is often side-lined. Creativity is key to a flexible, innovating supply chain – to creating supply chain management for the future – and it should be carefully nurtured. People will always be the supply chain’s biggest strength, not technology, we have notified it during the coronavirus period.

We only have to look at examples of how one of the world’s most creative sectors approaches its work. Movie-making functions a bit like a supply chain: there are multiple steps required to make a project a reality and, along each step of the way, the project passes through the hands of multiple stakeholders from different disciplines. The key to making that work is encouraging risk-taking and investing in people. According to Ed Catmull, former president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, collective creativity is key: “Creativity must be present at every level of every artistic and technical part of the organization.”

It’s important to move these lessons into the supply chain. Ensure your procurement strategy encourages conversations with suppliers that will allow them to provide solutions to your problems, or even innovate an existing process into better versions. Often, suppliers know more than you about what works best. Trust and innovation are key to enable you to capitalise on that knowledge.

Fostering a creative culture

But creativity is not something that companies can take for granted. It is important to foster a culture that inspires it, encourages it, and gives it the due importance it deserves. It’s important to remember that creativity cannot always be measured in monetary terms and that failure is often necessary for something truly great to be created. TATA, for example, offers its employees a ‘Dare to Try’ award for innovations that failed to make it to the marketplace but are still worthy of recognition. More examples of companies who have excelled at creating culture of creativity:

To learn more about how you can make your company creativity-ready through a good strategy, get in touch with SuperHumain, today.