Oft quoted wisdom from Einstein is “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Similarly, William Pollard warns, “The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” Or as Marshall Goldsmith might put it “What got us here, won’t get us there.”
Each of these great thinkers are telling us that if we want to be successful into the future, no matter how successful we have been in the past, we have to change our thinking and doing.
If we want a better tomorrow – we have to get creative today.
Conventional practices in workplaces which favour risk avoidance, one way communication, default solutions, an unchallenged status quo, silos, hierarchies, autocratic decision making, no time, space or prioritisation for creative thinking, will not serve us well if we are to transform into future focussed, future ready, adaptable workplaces. The kinds of workplaces populated with people ready, able and willing to think creatively about how to do things differently. If we want a better tomorrow – we have to get creative today.
So, I’d like to start by identifying the differences between the thinking that ‘got us here’ and the kind of thinking that will ‘get us there’. Here we go.
Each one of these juxtapositions is a topic on its own but I just want to speak generally for now. We are moving away from a workplace paradigm where creativity for so long has been a ‘fringe’ activity, the marginalised, poor cousin of logical thinking. But we are now transitioning into an era where creative thinking is gaining the respect and attention it deserves, taking its rightful place alongside analytical, logical and critical thinking. It is becoming embedded in the culture of progressive organisations and is a first (rather than a last) resort when looking for solutions. Cinderella has finally arrived at the castle!
Creative problem-solving unlocks the full gamut of higher order thought processes
How could it be otherwise in a world where success is as much dependant on experimentation as efficiencies and flexibility as formulas. Creative thinking is the compliment to logical thinking that unlocks the full gamut of higher order thought processes and problem-solving approaches. People who can be comfortable with switching among all different kinds of thinking are the ones who will bring deep and holistic solutions to complex problems.
Richard Florida, Professor at the University of Toronto said “Access to talented and creative people is to modern workplaces what access to coal and iron-ore was to steel making.”
Innovation is generated by creative thinking
We live in the Innovation Age. Innovation is generated by creative thinking and problem-solving. Creativity is the raw materials that fuels and feeds the furnace of innovation. Any workplace that says it wants a culture of innovation but ignores the role of creativity is destined for frustration.
The three key messages of the above table for any future-focussed organisation are:
- Creativity must not be an incidental, but rather an embedded, regular activity
- Creativity should not be left to a few brave mavericks but instead be practiced by everyone
- Creativity should not be perceived as an inexplicable, mysterious force but recognised and respected as a fundamental human capacity that complements, augments and enhances our other thought processes.
When we think of creativity like this it becomes an everyday activity. Contact us to find out how we can help with that.