The one thing, well, up until now, that AI can’t supplant is our imagination. Our innate human capacity to think free-form and make leaps of logic that would astound a computer. Our ability to create, to imagine, to innovate purely on instinct. A computer, software, an app, and AI can outperform your employees in certain aspects, but it still lacks key skills that are of great value not only to the tech industry but the world at large — creative problem-solving thinking skills for a changing world. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the creative skills that are right now in high demand in the tech and digital world.
What are creative skills in general?
Creativity, according to the World Economic Forum, is one of the top five skills of the immediate future. What are the other 4? Complex problem solving, active learning, analytic thinking, and critical thinking. The shift to digital has accelerated the desire of companies to expand their creative portfolio.
But what exactly are creative skills?
Creative skill is a broad topic with a lot of branching and overlapping points of interest. There’s no real definable trait that makes one person more creative than the other. In general, when it comes to the workplace, a creative skill is that magic spark that some employees have that helps them develop new ideas, increase their efficiency, and devise solutions to complex problems. In most cases, it is a natural proclivity. Nonetheless, it can be learned and developed over time — still, some people are simply more creative than others.
Creativity, in general, allows people to think about a task in a new or different way or to use their imagination to generate a new idea. Individuals with a high degree of creativity can look at things from a unique perspective, can uncover connections others have been blind to, can take risks others didn’t consider, can find patterns, ask questions, make imaginative observations.
It is a soft skill and one that in many cases is inherent to a person — some folks are simply more creative than others. Scientists have discovered that “high-creative” networks – that region in our brain devoted to flights of fancy – is in fact a web of different neurological systems. 3 regions that typically don’t get activated at the same time. Creative people, due to how their brains are “wired” can co-activate these brain regions and make them work in operation — engaging systems that don’t normally work together.
People with stronger connections between these networks come up with better ideas. Everyone is creative to a degree, but “geniuses” like Aristotle, Stephen King, Picasso, and dozens more are simply wired differently. They have a complex interplay in their brain that is spontaneous to them since childbirth, and one that with deliberate exercise they can eventually control.
Top 5 creative skills in demand for tech and digital professionals today
Intellectual and creative skills are in high demand, right now, since they are the only things companies can’t replicate. They can’t automate them, they can circumvent them, they can’t outsource them to a computer. Different types of creative skills can’t be replaced by robotics.
Here are some of the soft skills tech companies haven’t been able to reproduce.
Creative thinking is a soft skill. It’s not just the ability to come up with new solutions to a problem, but the ability to think innovatively. There’s no true sure-fire way to define creative thinking. Why? Because it involves too many variables. It involves careful analysis and information gathering. It involves communication and active listening. It involves open-mindedness, and opposing stereotypes. It involves all those factors, and sometimes none of them. Most of those variables are social conducts, and sometimes a creative person is everything but sociable.
Complex problem solving
A clear classical example of complex problem solving is the tale of the Gordian Knot. The legend goes that Alexander the Great was once challenged by an intractable problem – untying an impossibly tangled knot. What did Alexander do? He grabbed his sword and simply cut the knot in half. Not only solving the problem but rendering it moot.
Complex problem solving is thinking outside the box and using your imagination to create a new innovative solution to them.
One of the most important creative skills to learn is emotional intelligence or EQ. This is the ability to understand and manage and regulate emotions in a positive way. To have empathy, social awareness, and overcome challenges in an efficient manner.
A computer can analyze and audit information, it can find patterns, it can find complex systems working in unison within a maelstrom of bites and terabytes — But, it can’t think illogically. It can’t predict chaotic veer or what wonky data clusters translate to. For all that imaginative thinking, you need people.
There are, of course, many ways to improve your data analysis skills. A lot of it has to do with what tools you use, so taking a look at that, and the software that you are engaging with, can be really important. If you have access to a git client for mac, for instance, that can be really useful for keeping the data as it needs to be for analysis.
In any case, this is a skill that is certainly going to serve you well now and in the near future, so it is something you might want to think about in that regard.
Growth Mindset and Active Learning
Studies have shown that after college, most people stop learning actively. They start to acquire information passively. They don’t make any effort to activate their synapse and coordinate their brains to discover and absorb new information. Creative people, those same studies have shown, are completely different. They are constantly “updating” their hardware dynamically and purposefully.
Why are creative skills important to tech’ companies?
Tech companies, and digital firms, work with the intangible. With 0 and 1. They work with ideas, with concepts, with graphics, with things you can hardly if ever touch. To come up with a new tech device, they first have to devise it, they have to imagine it, they have to conceptualize it — years later, and only if they did their job right, only then will they be able to interact with it on a physical plane.
These companies need people that can translate those flights of fancy into action. They need leaders that can use their creative skills to impart their BIG vision to their underlings. They need marketing execs’ that can sell their product through emotions and experiences and the power of imagination. Computers can’t do that.
Companies are looking for effective people that can harness and exploit their creative skills.