A couple of years ago, a report was published by the World Economic Forum, stating that creativity is one of the three most important skills of future employees. It kept going explaining that until 2030, the 85% of the jobs that will occur, have not yet been invented - and the idea that technology is rapidly growing changed the perspective of the future world as we know it. Jobs as cashiers or even accountants will be replaced very soon by machines and algorithms.
So the question is this: which are the most important skills you need to develop today, in order to survive the future professional world? Creativity was mentioned as one of the top three.
Especially in the entrepreneurial world, creativity is consider much more than being good at arts or having the ability to imagine the next startup to disrupt the world. In fact, LinkedIn analyzed thousands of jobs and found that "employers are looking for more than just soft skills and technical skills when looking for new talent". In essence, they are looking for people who have an innate ability to solve problems in a unique way - that is, creatively.
Unfortunately, a lot of recruiters and employees, continue to see creativity as something innate - you are either born with it or not. But really, creativity is something you can learn! And just like everything you learn, learning to be creative requires practice.
During my student years, having dealt with a wide range of things and now as a Co-Founder of a creative agency, the following 4 ways of practicing have helped me more than enough in my daily life.
More simply, everything creative is about using "non-traditional" ways of thinking. People with weak creative muscles see the world as a series of events that happen to them - while people with strong creative muscles question the world and their daily lives. When people tell you, you can't do something, why not? When someone says, "This is not the way it is done," why not this way? Is there a better way? A faster way perhaps?
The more questions you ask about the world around you, the more creative you become.
Books that are not based on science fiction are more literal and more logical. These are books that explain to you how you can do something, because it happened and in general something that is relatively easy to understand.
Science fiction books, on the other hand, are fabrications. Sometimes they are based on true facts or inspired by people in the story. But for the most part, science fiction is more than just art. It lets the reader come to his own conclusions instead of being given advice and steps to follow.
Ideas can come from anywhere.
A big reason why people love to travel is because it is one of the fastest ways to dramatically expand our vision of the world (and what is "possible"). How many times have you been on a trip and thought, "I had no idea this existed?"
The more times you can cultivate this kind of awareness on your own, the more aware you will be of all the forms of creative expressions in the world: the way people talk, dress, interact, show gratitude, honor those who came before them and so on. One way to do this is to travel, but you can also get this out of a conversation with someone in your daily life who has experienced things you do not have. Talk to the people around you. Ask questions. Be a "traveler" living your life in an open and strange way.
Solving a Sudoku can certainly be a great way to keep your brain active, but true creative thinking begins as soon as an emotional equation enters.
One thing that makes entrepreneurship so difficult is that you try to balance very logical problems ("Should we increase our costs to customers or not?"), with very emotional problems ("Increasing these costs to our customers will find them in a very difficult position since we know that they are not very good financially"). Emotion is what makes a very black and white decision suddenly full of color. When this happens in a positive situation, it is wonderful. But when you try to make a tough decision and at the same time know how emotional it is, then things get tough.
The more you can learn to recognize both (logic and emotion) at the same time, you will eventually be more creative and be able to receive better decisions. Pay attention to the ways you interact with your colleagues and friends. Look for moments when you react out of frustration instead of clarity. These are the opportunities to practice this muscle of being a creative problem solver.