New Report on “Creativity and the Future of Skills”

Interesting new report by the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre on “Creativity and the Future of Skills”. Three key findings in the report:
 

“1. Creativity is likely to be even more important in the future job market… 

2. Employers don’t just value creativity alone: they need talent with project management and organisational skills too…
 
3. Creative occupations don’t have a monopoly on creativity”… Examples given of other occupations requiring creativity include “engineers, manufacturing and business development roles.”

Well-Being and future workplace trends

A new piece of research highlights the importance of focusing on the well-being of employees to increase productivity and loyalty.

“Happiness works. Happy workers are up to 12% more productive than those that aren’t”.

and suggests that aspects such as supporting flexible working, trusting employees and encouraging openness and sharing are important for their happiness:

“The office can be anywhere … Within the next decade, 60% of office-based employees will regularly be working from home.”

“54% of employees want to be measured by their outputs.”

“Design spaces to encourage ‘bumps’ and discourage ‘interruptions’.”

These findings are inline with other research by Dan Pink, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Sonja Lyubomirsky on the link between happiness, intrinsic motivation, creativity and productivity.

Research on factors affecting Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky

It is worth reading the Journal article by Sonja Lyubomirsky called Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change. In her article she talks about different factors affecting happiness, some that are in people’s control (“Intentional Activity”), some that are related to genetics (“Set Point”) and some that are related to “Life Circumstances”, such as demographics and the effect of certain personal life events. She suggests that we can make a difference to our level of happiness by focusing on “intentional activity” aspects, however she also points out that this requires effort. She divides this “intentional activity” into three types of effort: behavioural (such as exercising or being kind to others), cognitive (such as reframing situations or being grateful) and volitional (such as striving for important personal goals) and provides evidence from a range of research on how each one of the three factors has a positive affect on happiness. However, Sonja Lyubomirsky also argues that the effort becomes a lot easier, and more sustainable and enjoyable, if a person can find meaning and value in the activity.

Sonja Lyubomirsky also highlights how “happy people gain tangible benefits”  including “superior work outcomes (greater creativity, increased productivity, higher quality of work, and higher income; e.g., Estrada, Isen, & Young, 1994; Staw, Sutton, & Pelled, 1995), and more activity, energy, and flow (e.g., Csikszentmihalyi & Wong, 1991)”.

Shawn Achor builds on these findings  in his entertaining TED talk on “The happy secret to better work”

Article on ‘Linking Meaningfulness in the Workplace to Employee Creativity”

I recently discovered a really good journal article from 2009 analysing the link between meaningfulness in the workplace and employee creativity. The full article details are:

Title: Linking Meaningfulness in the Workplace to Employee Creativity: The Intervening Role of Organizational Identification and Positive Psychological Experiences
Authors: Ravit Cohen-Meitara, Abraham Carmelia & David A. Waldmanb
Journal: Creativity Research Journal, Volume 21, Issue 4, 2009, pages 361-375

One of the findings of the study was that “when individuals feel vitality and aliveness, positive regard and mutuality, and high organisation-based self esteem, their creativity is enhanced”. Two of the key factors driving this link were job challenge and freedom. The other key factor was how the organisation was perceived internally by employees as well as externally by others. These findings align with the findings by Teresa Amabile and others. It also links to Csikszentmihalyi’s work on flow and creativity, where he found that individuals are at their most creative (and in the ‘flow’ state) when given challenging work, but also when they have the required skills. It also links to Dan Pink’s work, highlighting that intrinsic motivation of individuals is driven by having autonomy, mastery (a motivation to improve skills) and having a sense of purpose to what they are doing.

The research matches our own findings through running many sessions with organisation on creativity over many years, our own person experiences in such work environments, as well as the specific research studies we have conducted.