1. Creativity and the Modern Professional

Ericsson Careers Blog

Creativity and the Modern Professional

Editor’s note: This article was written with the help and input of Katlego Tshuma, founder of shots011.com.

With 2016 finally upon us, my resolutions list has been drafted and finalised! I’m returning to Ericsson for my second year and now that I’m a lot more confident in my role, executing my responsibilities and our ways of working, I have been thinking more about how I can begin to cultivate my success in my role. Granted, time management is top of the list, but after a lengthy conversation with Katlego Tshuma of shots011.com on the Importance of Creativity for the young Professional, my year is also about becoming more creative!

PENNY FOR YOUR SOLUTION?

In today’s economically competitive world, organisations and entrepreneurs are increasingly looking at new and creative ways to establish or sustain their businesses and stay afloat despite the cut-throat competition. This means that in a time where organisations and societies are facing new problems while battling existing ones, success has become more than just about meeting one’s targets alone. Moreover, the high number of unemployed graduates around the world has also shown that the university degree alone can no longer guarantee success and that students are now required to have additional flair that will make them stand out. Without the ability to add unique value to an organisation or society through innovative solutions or creative problem-solving, the chances of success become even slimmer. More and more we are seeing that the most successful employees, entrepreneurs, or even students are those that have been able to tap into their creativity in order to solve complex problems and subsequently add value to their customer.

At its core, creativity is the ability to connect seemingly unrelated ideas, concepts or processes in order to solve a problem or come up with innovations that an organisation or society has long been waiting for. It is more than just the ability to string words together beautifully in a novel or design a website for your client, creativity is a problem solving tool that unlocks innovation.

GETTING STARTED GETTING CREATIVE.

The idea of creativity and subsequent conversations around it naturally results in the polarisation of individuals into creatives and non-creatives with each camp fixated on how different they are from the other. However, we are now beginning to learn that creativity is not a skill bestowed upon a certain class of people that share similar characteristics but rather something that can be learnt, practised and cultivated. This means that creativity as a problem solving tool is something that even people that identify as left brain (less creative) can develop over time and thrive as a result of.

In her ground-breaking book titled InGenuis that explores creativity and how it can be leveraged for success, Tina Seeling proposes that creativity is a skill that can be learnt through the use of certain techniques and paradigm shifts. She premises that anyone looking to become more creative and subsequently cultivate a mind-set or culture of innovation can do this through focusing on developing the six dimensions that make up her “innovation engine”. These dimensions include imagination, knowledge, attitude, habitat, culture, resources, connecting and combining ideas and challenging assumptions.

GO FORTH AND BE CREATIVE!

One can summarise Seeling as postulating that in order to become more creative, we need to learn and develop our imagination through reframing problems and how we view them. This allows us to look at life a little differently, which might inspire a novel or necessary innovation. In addition, a focus on the culture, attitudes, habitat, as well as resources that shape and enable creativity is important because without the relevant resources or creativity enabling habitat or attitude, a person may not be able to articulate, express or execute their ideas or innovations.

However, a large part of developing our creativity is also about equipping ourselves with knowledge and challenging our own assumptions as that fosters more imagination through allowing us to connect and combine seemingly unrelated concepts or ideas. We thus need to develop our attention to detail and pay close attention to how the world and everything in it is connected because as Seeling holds, “knowledge is the toolbox to your imagination”.

All of life is a sequence of problems emerging and being solved. To aid your success in the New Year through adding value to your clients or organisation, creativity is the first stop to achieving this. 2016 just might be the year to ditch the old way of doing things and embrace the creative within!

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    By: Amanda N.

    My name is Amanda Nkwinika and I am a 25 year old writer and Organizational Psychology Honours graduate. I’d like to think that I live a double life sometimes because by day, you will find me in the RSSA head office in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I work hard as an HR Intern. But by night, I transform into a brooding and frustrated writer that is set on completing her first novel on the exact deadline set, even though the story keeps changing every day!

    I’ve spent most of my years as a student at the University of the Witwatersrand and University of Cape Town, respectively, and a year as a writer and editor for an online publication called IMBO. Ericsson is my first stint as a corporate professional and the experience is nothing short of exciting! I’ve been involved in many projects in my role as an HR intern and have enjoyed the privilege to meet and interact with many diverse and textured individuals each day.

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