A few weeks ago, I coached my ex-staff on career management. He started his career in accounts payable about 15 years ago and gradually grown within. He enjoyed the work and having spent so much time on developing a career in the said area, everything was so easy for him – especially solving issues. Creativity at its best – not really! Because here’s something he did not expect – replacement! He was replaced by the most unexpected contender – technology.
A month ago, the company decided to automate the entire AP process, with the new systems, tools, and procedures there is reduced human touch points, resulting in layoffs. He was asked to leave. A new job was the order of the day and creativity at its best was the demand for further action. Yet, he was at bay. Frantically, he started applying everywhere, to make the situation worse for him other companies were ahead in automation and were not looking for the profile he was holding.
During our conversation, he introspected multiple times and realized, he himself was responsible for this situation. Here’s how:
- Firstly, he was not business savvy, he did not pay much attention to what is happening in the industry.
- Secondly, he did not network much. He was confined to a small group of people, and was left out on some critical information about automation within the company, had he invested time in networking, he would have known about proposals flying around in automation.
- Finally, he did not spend enough on training, and development, where he left with some technical skills which have become obsolete, at the same time did not invest on transferable soft skills like, creativity, innovation, communication, influencing, persuasion, stakeholder management, and project management.
Are you not doing any of the above?
Sounds familiar? You need to work creativity at its best in order to meet the above challenges and make a habit out of these patterns. You may think you are immune to such problems, but the fact is very different. It is a matter of time, some are being impacted now, and some will be affected in the future. With the future of work well and truly upon us, how can we prepare for jobs that don’t even exist yet?
We are facing unprecedented challenges – be it social, economic, environmental, or technological developments. These changes are providing us with a number of new opportunities. Yet, there is one crucial thing we need to remember – the future is always uncertain, and no one can predict it. This truth may be our friend or our foe, depending on how we approach it.
For creativity at its best while meeting challenges of the future, we need to be open and ready for it. To navigate through these uncertainties, one will need to:
- Develop curiosity, imagination, resilience, and self-regulation;
- Learn to respect, appreciate new ideas, perspectives, values of others;
- Cope with failure and rejection, and move forward in the face of adversity.
- One will also need to care about the well-being of their friends and families, their communities, and the planet.
- And we need to take all these skills and squeeze them into a unique representation of who we are and what we do best – that’s creativity at its best.
Be Prepared with Creativity at its Best
Adopt Behaviors that can prepare you for the future work and ensure your skills remain relevant and in demand. These behaviors will help us with future jobs. Firstly Focus on Soft Skills like creativity at its best, innovation, communication, influencing, and stakeholder management.
While technical expertise will continue to evolve, specific soft skills will remain for most jobs in the future that is because the human abilities can’t be imitated by technology, like the ability to connect with people and form relationships, willingness to learn, and respect for the ideas of others.
The Key Question is what skills will be required in the future, and how can one acquire them?
There are a few essential skills and here are a few that I have placed on top of my list:
Innovation/Creativity: When we were children, the creativity juices were squeezed from our brains slowly and as we got older, the left brain started to dominate with logic until we lost our power of creativity. To get back the right brain thinking, we need to become like a child, where we simply get curious, accept information without, and listen to everyone’s point of view.
The way creativity at its best and innovation work is very simple.
We have billions of nerve cells in brains, neurons keep connecting with each other, typically known connections will happen fast and happens because of our memory, past experiences. Whenever information is transferred to mind, it has formed a particular pattern. If you ever felt stuck unable to solve a problem, not able to think of a solution or come up with an innovative idea, this is mainly due to brain’s inability to form new patterns.
How to keep those Brilliant Ideas Coming
For the brain to develop a new design or to find creativity at its best, one needs to be in a calm state (not to activate the reptilian side of your mind which is fight or flight mode). You would also have to expose to a new environment, experience, knowledge or skills. I am sure you always have a brilliant idea during a shower or while driving, this is because the mind is at a calm state and some new experiences, place, must have been exposed to brain shortly before it can go to few days prior as well. Once you make a habit of exposing yourself to something new often. Then you can practice this exercise to get some innovation or creativity to your problem-solving process and outcome.
Question Often, Get More Done
One of the simple exercises anyone can do is the power of questions. When we shift our focus to ask as many questions as possible, then we can able to see the problem differently. For example, Low Sales for the Month. Here’s how you can create a question chart to fuel creativity at its best:
1. Why are the Sales Low this Month?
2. Are Customers aware of our Product?
3. Is there any new alternative to our Product?
4. Is this a seasonal low?
5. Are customers satisfied with our Products?
6. Do we have any logistic issues to deliver the products to our customers?
7. Has customer preference changed?
8. Does customers income pattern change?
The list can go on. In fact, the more, the better, it is not necessary to answer all the questions, just by asking questions in as many ways as possible, one will start to connect the dots and see things differently and eventually get an insight.
Creativity at its best and innovation are essential because these factors make problem solving an exciting and fulfilling process. Creativity is a way of living life that embraces originality and makes unique connections between seemingly disparate ideas. Creativity is about living life as a journey into seeing and communicating the extra-ordinariness of the simplest, most everyday acts.
Enjoy learning new skills and make yourself foolproof against future digital trends.
Parthiban is deeply passionate about aligning people development and organizational strategy to drive business outcome by Inspiring, engaging people and solving organization problems through connections, innovation, agility, and execution excellence.