The Case for Creativity and Innovation

The Case for Creativity and Innovation

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4952-9.ch001
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Abstract

The world has moved on and away from the traditional work environment. The workforce characteristics have changed, as have expectations of the working population and the workplace. Jobs that did not exist ten years ago, are accepted and new positions continue to develop globally as science and communication systems change. Changes in expectations for a global workforce continue to gain support across disciplines as skills needed to solve problems creatively become necessary to react and develop solutions to unpredictable and inherent risks. Today's society demands creative and novel resolutions, valuable ideas, as well as adaptation and vision to bring about change. Inspiring, sustaining and applying creativity is necessary to compete in today's breathlessly evolving marketplace. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a case for the importance of creativity in the workplace.
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Introduction: To Create Or Not To Create

Some would argue that creativity has become a buzzword, implying that it is fashionable at this time in context- simply a passing phase or trend. Runco and Jaeger (2012) write that creativity has value depending on the current market; however, the authors believe that creativity is essential for the future of business, health services, general education and the global workforce. Rather than thinking of creativity as the outcome of a series of processes, the adaptation of “older” ideas to generate applications to the new world of technology and global systems is, in itself, a creative thinking process. The authors propose that creativity and innovation in this era should be valued more as a worldview, or a critical thinking process, rather than just an end product. This view suggests that creativity is particularly important to problem solving- as leaders, managers and workers alike further develop their abilities to switch strategies if they find that a solution is not forthcoming. The new world of workers must constantly evaluate information, including the discrimination of relevant from irrelevant information, which influence successful choices for and approaches to managing issues across various domains (Johnston & Bate, 2013). From these important thinking processes, innovation grows through application. Limiting thinking concerning the importance of creativity to all aspects of professional endeavors is, in itself, inhibiting the development and support of this critical attribute.

Objectives

In this chapter the authors will explore the changes in the global workforce and how the expectations for the new work skills support creativity and innovation. The chapter includes summary information across disciplines to include research reports, CEO blog sites, and recommendations from agencies like the National Academies of Science and The Partnership for 21st Century Skills. The scope of identified need for both creativity and innovation indicate this is not the “pet rock” of our era, but necessary to transcend political borders and improve the quality of life as well as economic success from a global perspective.

After reading this chapter one should be able to identify the support for creativity as a constant and necessary component of the changing expectations for the workforce and workplace. The reader should develop a better understanding of the shift in the working population and, therefore, the demand for creativity across multiple industries.

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Background: The Changing Workforce

If you're gonna make connections which are innovative ... you have to not have the same bag of experiences as everyone else does. - Steve Jobs (1982)

It’s Not Your Father’s Workforce Anymore

What do these terms have in common: YouTube Sex Ed Teacher, Simulated Astronaut, Vegan Butcher, Professional Activist, Bug Bounty Hunter, Death Doula, and Compost Collector? According to the January 25 issue of Time Magazine these are seven new jobs created in 2017. For many years jobs have pretty much stayed the same with some variation on the tools and skills needed for job performance. However, as technology use has increased the world of employment has drastically changed. Technology has introduced new flexibility to both employers and employees alike, allowing employees in some positions a greater sense of freedom, employers a higher degree of efficiency, and greater connectedness for both without the traditional limitations of time and place (ADP, 2016b). Simultaneously many other population factors are changing including age, gender, diversity, education and skills, as well as increase in demand for temporary and freelance workers (Vander Ark, 2012). Previously, individuals defined security by tenure, or length of stay. Today, with shifts in the workplace, employees define security by the reach of their professional network and the ability to tap into relationships to find non-linear jobs that can extend a career (SHRM Foundation, 2015). Employees’ demand for greater choice and flexibility, access to real-time learning, increased autonomy, a sense of stability, and the ability to work on personally meaningful projects are driving global workplace transformation (ADP, 2016a).

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