Creativity Drives Business Success—Key Takeaways From the 2016 State of Create Report

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I can’t pick up a magazine or scroll through my social media feed without reading about design-led innovation, design thinking, the importance of creativity, and the like. It seems the world is shining a spotlight on creativity and creative expression in business and beyond.

With our 2016 State of Create study, we set out to quantify just how much impact creativity has and the results are impressive. Globally, respondents believe that being creative is valuable for society, and it fuels innovation, economic growth, and even happiness. Yet, only three in 10 people feel that they are living up to their creative potential.

So, the question is: why not? Why aren’t we prioritizing creativity when we know it’s beneficial? The call to action for all of us is to simply take a step back and create.  The bottom line is companies that encourage and empower employees to create are driving results and employees who think creatively are bound to succeed. And for students, it underscores a broader opportunity – not just what, but also how we prepare students for the real world — creativity helps businesses win.

Here are some of my top takeaways from the report:

Good design is good business

Creativity is the foundation of good design. Consider Nest — it’s a great thermostat. But it’s the intuitive and thoughtful design that caused it to disrupt an industry. Seventy-four percent of respondents agree it’s important for businesses to focus on good design and two-thirds (65%) also believe that good design is more important now than it was five years ago.

Consumers vote with their wallets and their loyalty.  Almost half pay more for a product or service that has good design and 59 percent say they would be more loyal to a brand that has good design. Creative companies are more likely to have satisfied customers (80%) and provide a better customer experience (78%).

With design and creativity driving this kind of customer acquisition, satisfaction and advocacy, it’s time for design leads to take a seat in the C-suite.

Productivity and creativity work together

There’s a tendency for people to think creativity and productivity are at odds – but really they work hand-in-hand. In the report, 78 percent of respondents said that businesses that invest in creativity are more likely to see an increase in employee productivity. It makes sense, fostering a culture of creativity motivates and encourages high performance teams.

For individuals, it means you may need to step away from the task list and make time to brainstorm and develop creative solutions. While a prioritized to-do list may create focus and satisfaction for getting the job done, adding creativity to the mix produces a more innovative outcome.

It’s time for business to walk the talk and move beyond a satisfied workforce to one that’s inspired and empowered to create.

Creative workers are a step ahead

With 70 percent saying being creative is likely to make people better workers, but only 31 percent feeling like they reach their creative potential, what is the takeaway for individual workers today and tomorrow?

Aside from setting time aside for blue sky thinking, a way to showcase creativity is storytelling — unraveling the narrative behind the business or product and communicating it effectively. This was once considered a soft skill, but now it’s a mandate and a professional differentiator. A great storyteller, whether it’s in finance, engineering, or legal, has a better chance of getting their ideas heard and acted on.

We have several examples of that right here at Adobe. One that comes to mind is Researcher Jovan Popovic. He sought to simplify animation with new techniques. At first, he had trouble getting product and engineering teams to see the value by talking about how the tedious keyframe animation could be simpler. Jovan realized he needed to change his approach. He illustrated how real-world simulation and performances could automate animation, rather than just saying that we should make animation easier. The result: he connected with engineering teams and they created Character Animator.

Let’s create

We’re all looking for ways to add value and meaning to what we do – so let’s commit to taking a fresh, creative approach. If we bring that perspective forward, we’ll feel fulfilled in our everyday work.

Read the full findings from the State of Create: 2016 Report

Learn more about the U.S. findings in this infographic:

Mala Sharma, VP & GM of Creative Cloud Product, Marketing and Community

Mala is vice president of the Creative Cloud business & marketing at Adobe. She practices a mindful approach to business, and is passionate about building self-worth through creativity & education.

Mala Sharma, VP & GM of Creative Cloud Product, Marketing and Community