Now that Mark Cuban and new data from LinkedIn have highlighted that creativity is a key job skill, maybe creativity will be taken more seriously in our work environments. Sometimes when we speak about innovation we end up talking around each other. Innovation is invention converted into value. But we should pause and realize that the engine for innovation is actually creativity. Creativity has three components: inquiry, improvisation and intuition. I call this the 3iCreativity framework.

  • Inquiry is about building curiosity and asking a better question. Practice asking more questions versus coming to quicker solutions, and you'll learn to reframe and in the process, get better perspective.
  • Improvisation is about rebounding off of minimal structures. This is what all great jazz musicians and comedians are excellent at: learning the rules, and then stretching them. Jazz is a chaordic system, consisting of both chaos, or randomness, and order, or structure. In all improvisation, is all about the build.
  • Intuition is pattern recognition: paying attention to that nudge and listening to it. It is like a radar and gets stronger over time.

The creativity gap shows up in 2 ways: spatially and temporally.

The Spatial Dimension in the Creativity Gap 

You've heard people say things like "I'm not a creative type", or "I'm not artsy.". Perhaps even you have made such comments. These types of declarations put the onus of creativity onto artists- who have invested quite a lot of time and discipline into developing their skills and craft. The reality is that to be human is to be hard wired to be creative. In order to be an incredible attorney, scientist, entrepreneur or plumber- you must be super creative!  So the first way the creativity gap shows up is when we create a binary dichotomy among ourselves. We draw false lines in the sand where there don't need to be any.

The Temporal Dimension in the Creativity Gap

The second way that the gap shows up relates to the future of work. The new work and learning environments in the not too distant future will consist of ubiquitous cloud technology, automated tasks in both blue collar and white collar work, and an abundance of AR, VR and AI. We must develop a bridge to a future of work where we amplify what is uniquely human. Our creative competency will be dependent on our ability to problem solve through re-framing, to ask better questions, to collaborate with diverse types of people, and to exercise our emotional intelligence.  

Applying creativity in our everyday work by practicing the "3i's" of inquiry, improvisation and intuition will close this gap, and ultimately make us better innovators.