The dawn of the fourth industrial revolution has made creative thinking a core workplace activity.
As we move away from a workplace paradigm where creativity is seen as a ‘fringe’ activity, into an era where creative thinking has gained the respect and attention it deserves, progressive organisations are now looking at creative thinkers as an intrinsic component of company culture.
In a VUCA (Volatile. Uncertain. Complex. Ambiguous) world where success is now dependent on producing rather than reproducing; experimentation not just efficiencies; and flexibility as much as formulas, creative thinkers complement the analytical thinking. This unlocks the full gamut and spectrum of higher order thought processes and problem-solving approaches.
The World Economic Forum report entitled The Three Key Skill Sets for The Workers Of 2030 shows that workers need to focus on developing their higher order cognitive skills i.e. critical and analytical thinking AND creative problem-solving.
People and teams who have cognitive flexibility and are comfortable with switching among different kinds of thinking without being trapped in rigid mental models are the ones who will bring deep and holistic solutions to complex problems.
In an era of unprecedented knowledge proliferation and access, we have unlimited raw materials for new ideas. Information can be combined, packaged and applied in a vast variety of new ways. It means that in order to function well in the modern workplace we need to be able to handle complexity without compromising outcomes and combine disciplines and knowledge bases to produce innovative results. This is how high performing teams and organisations will be able to maximise the value of their intellectual capital’ (i.e. their smart people). Cognitive flexibility means being able to combine artistic and technical skills, professional knowledge and interpersonal ability and enterprise acumen with deep subject matter expertise.
Organisations and businesses wishing to succeed in today’s innovation age need to develop the creative problem-solving capacity of their workforce.