Creativity is a highly applicable character trait of those who find success and significance in the business world.
In light of this observation, the question of whether creativity can be taught naturally arises. While it’s true that with sufficient determination, individuals can learn almost anything. Yet, teaching your team to think creatively in any industry is contingent upon the approach.
As an Anticipatory Leader, the concept of fostering creativity among your employees should manifest in proactively addressing challenges through innovative solutions.
This involves the cultivation of intricate ideas, allowing for the creation of remedies well in advance of issues becoming disruptive.
Creativity in its most basic form
Many organizations are playing the competition game. More specifically: copying ideas to stay one step ahead and gain a small fraction of market share.
This is a road riddled with friction and little payoff. Because each player struggles to move one space ahead. If this sounds exhausting, it’s because it is exhausting.
The solution is to break free from this relentless cycle and forge an entirely new path.
To achieve this, it’s essential to keep your opportunity radar finely tuned. Identify areas ripe for innovation. At the core of innovation lies creativity, naturally driving the process.
Just as with anything in business, creativity is a process. In which bits and pieces of ideas are taken, shaken up, and revealed to discover new uses for products or services. Or, most importantly, solutions to problems both current and in the future.
The leaders many look up to in society – those who bring about the most powerful, transformative innovations – begin with an insatiable thirst for knowledge and curiosity about the world around them.
This allows them to conceptualize diverse and original ideas, often taught to them by predecessors in their industry.
Yet, while creativity is taking in all that you know and experience, innovation is the ability to evaluate those observations and develop them into usable solutions.
Case study: elderly companionship and AI
For Anticipatory Leaders and Anticipatory Organizations, pre-solving problems is not a hard stop for creativity. Because everything can be improved upon in life.
For instance, it is a Hard Trend future certainty that as the Baby Boomers are aging, more of the population than ever before is entering into elderhood. In this life phase, their range of mobility, ability to functionally care for themselves and others, and companionship are reduced.
Using this Hard Trend as well as the fact that pets play a crucial role in the emotional fulfillment of all age groups, one organization saw an opportunity to apply a creative and exponential solution to the issue of companionship: Joy for All.
A while back, I wrote about this innovative product that debuted for elderly individuals.
To summarize briefly, Joy for All is an organization that supplies animal companionship – in the form of robotic cats and dogs – to the elderly who wish for company but not the burden of feeding schedules and vet appointments. This gives older individuals all the emotional benefits of owning a pet.
Creative, right? But is this industry tapped out because of one innovative idea? Absolutely not. What a company like Joy for All should be doing is thinking creatively about their product 20, 30, or more years from now! How can they make these mechanical companions more lifelike, especially as Gen X, Millennials, and even Gen Z individuals age into the elderly demographic one day?
I can bet on the reality that artificial intelligence (A.I.) will most definitely accelerate, and that you may be able to have this robotic pet actually start to emulate the behaviors of a pet that can learn tricks, pick up on patterns of your or your loved ones’ behavior, and more.
This is an evident solution to a problem that does not even exist yet, as younger generations are not in their elderly years.
The layers of creativity
Too often I hear higher-level managers, C-suite executives, and other business leaders state that they “are not creative,” or they equate creativity to being “artsy” alone.
Remember: Creativity can be learned and should be fostered within your Anticipatory Organization! Learning to be creative and thus innovative comes with understanding the following three steps:
Discovery — This is the lower level of creativity. Discovery is when you become aware of or stumble upon something. In essence, this can be when you find that a tool or process can be adapted into something else, just as an interesting rock goes from being “just a rock” to “art.”
Invention — The next level of creativity comes with the process of invention. All great inventions would have come to fruition by someone else if the known inventor hadn’t pulled it together themselves. The pieces to the next great invention already exist. You simply discover them and pull them together in a new way.
Creation — Here is the highest level of creativity. Now is when you actually put your stamp on something new or reinvent something that exists. The creation portion of fostering creativity is the process of tapping into where your innovation lies.
The goal is never to compete in a foot race against your competition. Likewise, it is certainly not to copy and follow the crowd to find the next big idea. The goal is to be the leading industry innovator. Who leverages creative thinking to innovate in everything your organization currently does and will do in the future.
This then unlocks your opportunity as an Anticipatory Organization that stays in the lead naturally.