By Puleng Makhoalibe, head of the School of Innovation and Branding at Henley Business School Africa
According to a World Economic Forum report, creativity will move from being in 10th position in the top 10 skills in 2015 to third in 2020. This is not surprising. The world around us screams “new”, “meaning”, “purpose”, “passion”, “spirit” and everything that the education system is not constructed upon. Neither organisations, governments, institutions or societies are built on this crucial foundation. Yet, the world yearns for it.
The question is how do we rethink industries, redefine work, rebuild confidence, recover and reignite the innate creativity we all possess. More importantly, how do you utilise this creativity to inspire your people and improve your organisation.
It is important to improve people’s abilities to deliberately use creativity and innovation. Encourage new ideas, imagination, new decisions and new actions, and inspire people to believe they can become creative and use creativity.
There are some practical ways businesses and organisations can release employees’ creativity through innovative activities to boost morale and engagement.
One way to do this is to bring people together around a shared need and value for creativity and innovation. Support people making positive visions of the future as fuel for creative innovation and familiarise people with a creative process.
Picasso once said, “All children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up”. As children, our world is made of stories, pictures and colour but as we grow up, this seems to dissipate. When we allow ourselves to explore, play and defer judgment, the creativity in us is awakened as we engage at work, in projects and in relating to one another.
We become comfortable with ambiguity and maintain the child-like curiosity that keeps us seeking the second right answer. Creativity allows us to remain in this space long enough to come up with ideas that are new to the world, what others call, third level thinking.
Henley has long viewed creativity as an integral part of any MBA education. This has led us to develop the MBA for Creative Activists and Innovators. It combines the Henley Flexible Executive MBA programme with the addition of bespoke workshops, presentations and analysis, focusing on working with creatives, understanding IP and innovation.
The participant attends the full MBA workshops with a diverse range of participants from other industries. Additional workshops with a select group of individuals are provided focusing on developing creative and innovative capabilities. The programme develops and grows the skills and future creative and music industry leaders as well as innovators and entrepreneurs in any industry, business or walk of life.
The programme has been designed in collaboration with an international team of Henley academics, business leaders and creative luminaries to meet the specific needs of local and international creative industry professionals.
Creativity in business is integral to the future growth of SA managers. But most businesses remain reluctant to be creative for fear of failure. But for those who do, the potential exists to create business growth and enhance employee satisfaction and retention.
There is a change in the business world where creativity is being used not only for marketing but in addressing business challenges. New creative ways of working are being implemented and encouraged.
With the Creative Activists and Innovators MBA we encourage students to think outside the box compared to traditional management styles. We find that allowing staff to be creative, even in the small areas of their responsibility, increases productivity, affects the company’s bottom line and can also provide a competitive advantage.