Why is creativity crucial for business success?

There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.

– Edward de Bono

Over the years, creativity and innovation have been recognized as crucial skills for positive development and successful businesses. The fact is that every company wants to stay ahead of its competitors and gain a leading position in its industry. Additionally, the ever increasing changing world demands for creative and innovation solutions that tackle the everyday problems that companies and individuals face. Creative thinking – that is, the ability to look at problems from different perspectives, and generate new and original ideas – is undoubtedly an essential part of it. But how important exactly is creativity for business success?

A recent research by Forrester Consulting concluded that 82% of companies assert that there is a strong link between business success and creativity. Indeed, according to the study, companies that promote creative thinking surpass their competitors in several aspects, including market share, revenue growth, and competitive advantage.

Another study by IBM, the 2010 Global CEO Study, which surveyed over 1500 CEOs from 60 countries and 33 industries globally, concluded that creativity has become the most important leadership skill for business success, overweighing other skills like integrity, global thinking and influence. According to the CEOs who were surveyed, the reason behind these results is the extreme volatility and complexity that characterize today’s market. This, then prompts the need for creative ideas that meet the dynamic market demands. As one Telecommunications CEO from India highlighted – “Creativity is everything”.

Whereas in the past, economies and industries were knowledge-driven, today this has switched to an ideas-driven mindset, where doing more of the same is simply not enough anymore. Leading companies like Apple, Google and Tesla have re-shaped the meaning of competitiveness by prioritizing creativity and innovation as their fundamental business philosophy. In the face of this new commercial environment these companies should not be taken as exceptions but rather as examples on how to gain a competitive edge by differentiation.

In a simple formula, creativity leads to more efficient solutions, which increases productivity, and consequently, gives the competitive edge that any business strives to achieve.