Training can help us beat the creativity crisis

Liz Hall

There is a creativity crisis but fear not, creativity can be trained, creativity expert Dr Mark Batey told delegates at the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development´s HRD conference in London on 6-7 April.

Creative thinking skills have been in steady decline since 1990 and the problem is getting worse, according to an analysis of 300,000 children reported in Newsweek in July 2010 cited by Manchester Business School´s Dr Batey.

“Creativity is a fundamental skill in individuals, organisations and economies but it does seem to be an issue with people leaving the school system. But we can train creativity,” he said.

Dr Batey defined creativity as “the capacity within individuals to develop ideas for the purpose of solving problems and exploiting opportunities.” He said creativity has been the number one strategic priority for businesses for seven out of the last eight years, according to research by the Boston Consulting Group. It is the primary focus for entrepreneurial, agile and high performing companies and is vital for growth out of the downturn, he said. He said creativity predicts life success, achievement and health and helps teams be more efficient, helps control costs and improves customer service.

He shared one easy exercise for developing creativity- writing a list of “what we do/know already” on the left hand side and “what we could do” on the other. He said the most obvious answers come first- these need to be first exhausted before throwing up potentially promising alternatives.

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