Friday, March 18

Is Creativity Necessary?

Often I find myself having to justify the necessity of creative working in the non-creative industries.  Attacks on my stance are rarely fierce; more often apathetic.  But I'm not sure which is the more dangerous.

It's all quite simple really: 

1.  Over the years computers and other inexpensive forms of automation have diminished the relative number of manual labour and clerical jobs.  And it hasn't stopped there:  Increasingly we're automating management decisions, statistical analysis, sales support and other knowledge work which can be handled analytically.

2.  Where it's been too hard to automate tasks, the march of globalisation has meant outsourcing of jobs from developed to lower cost economies.  What remains in the developed economy is that which depends heavily on local context, and cannot easily go offshore.

3.  Analytical thinking gives us a range of predictable answers to a given problem.  And it gives us some basis for selecting a preferred answer from the set.  Creative thinking can complement that set by yielding a range of new and unusual answers, which our competitors might not easily have tumbled to.  If we can adopt one of those, we could advance into a gap which is non-competitive - at least in the short-term.

I also tend to make the point that creative thinking is a great deal of fun, and I'm still old-fashioned enough to think that work should be fun. ( I try to make this appear an afterthought, because it's far too easily criticised.)

One day when I'm not having a "bad brain day" I might just tackle the sister question:  "Is Creativity Sufficient?"   In the meantime I'd welcome your comments on both questions.

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