Why Your Creativity Is Your Most Valuable Skill Innovation has driven entrepreneurs throughout history, ranging from Leonardo Da Vinci to Elon Musk.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Reaching our maximum creative potential in our jobs or occupations is paramount to success and living a fulfilling and meaningful life. Several companies, including IBM and Adobe, have conducted extensive surveys of companies across dozens of international industries and found that creativity is the number one skill most sought after and the hardest to find.
There has never been a more crucial time to develop our creativity and our ability to innovate than there is now, regardless of who we are and what we do. Each one of us has the potential to become creative and innovative. These two concepts have been hijacked by some in the world of technology, science and business for the past 30 years, but it is time to reclaim them for anyone who wants to benefit and turn their lives and businesses around.
In 2019 and 2020, LinkedIn analyzed the information in their network, searching for the most in-demand skills. The skill that was in highest demand was creativity. Around that same time, the World Economic Forum called creativity "the one skill that will future-proof you for the job market." But when employees and freelancers were asked if they are living up to their creative potential, only 25 percent believed they were, and 40 percent affirmed they didn't have the tools or access to the tools they need to become creative.
Related: Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein Applied the Concept of 'No Time' to Boost Their Creativity. What Does It Entail?
The root of entrepreneurship
Creativity is the root of entrepreneurship. It's not only how I came up with the ideas that allowed me to build my business from scratch, but also how I continue to find and implement ideas to adjust and pivot from the constant changes that all business owners are facing.
After having consulted for many companies, as well as teaching creativity classes to hundreds of business people, entrepreneurs, and artists, I often hear people say, "I'm stuck! I'm not creative! The ideas stopped coming! Whatever innovative or original work I produced in the past was pure luck!" In other words, they suffer from "impostor's syndrome" and think they will never be able to bring innovative solutions or create original and compelling work ever again.
The creative process is the same regardless of what you do
A recent study published in the journal Thinking, Skills and Creativity, conducted by three university professors from Maastricht University in the Netherlands and the University of South Australia, finally proves a point that I've been making for years: creative processes are more or less the same across domains and disciplines. While it is true that CEOs, engineers, and artists create very different kinds of work with very different intentions and outcomes, the process they use to get there is very similar. David Cropley, who co-authored the study, said: "The new bit of finding is that those differences are actually pretty small and small enough that I would argue they don't really make a heck of a lot of difference."
Related: 5 Psychology-Backed Hacks That Train Your Brain to Be More Innovative
Creativity isn't just one thing
One of the most important factors to foster a culture of creativity is acknowledging that it isn't one unique concept available to a handful of chosen ones but is accessible and reachable to every one of us. It's also an amalgamation of learnable skills, such as risk-taking and curiosity.
Creativity requires ownership of ideas and authenticity. When you retreat from expressing your "crazy" ideas because you fear judgment from your peers or higher-ups, or you are afraid of adverse market reactions, you are leaving behind a chance to let the world know your new invention, product, service, book, film or anything else that could bring so much value to society.
Most of the time, dozens of lucrative ideas are sitting right by your side, but you are unable to see them because you've been blinded by the impossibly high and largely fabricated standards of what being creative and innovative entails. Don't let that happen to you. You too can learn to be the most creative you can be.