We all have a creative genius inside us, yet we differ in the way we express it. According to a 2016 Adobe study on creativity, less than one-third of people believe that they are living up to their creative potential. In our changing world, visionary leaders need to master creative thinking to innovate constantly. In this article, we’ll explore what makes creative thinkers so valuable to organisations.
What is creative thinking?
Creative thinking is a broad concept. It refers to any thinking process that allows you to see problems and situations from a fresh perspective. This new, unorthodox way of seeing things is particularly helpful in solving problems and bringing value by improving processes.
7 reasons why creative thinking is an essential leadership skill
1. Constant questioning
Creative thinkers constantly question everything. They have a genuine curiosity that leads them to investigate the nature of things. This habit helps them gain a deeper understanding of how things work and how to improve them.
2. Unbiased observation
In addition to being curious, creative thinkers are great observers. Passionate about the infinite possibilities that life has to offer, they tend to be fully immersed in the present moment. They do not judge or label what they see but rather enjoy things for what they are. By separating observation and evaluation, they get a clearer perspective on how things really are.
3. Idea generation
When thinking about creative people, we often think about their idea generation skills. There is a special type of people, sometimes called lateral thinkers, who are exceptionally skilled at thinking outside the box and generating new ideas. Every company needs inspirational leaders who develop and propose new ideas to their team. These creative leaders go beyond their duty and take risks to ensure that the company keeps on innovating and delivering value.
Lateral thinkers are also great at solving problems. They connect concepts in new ways, which helps them understand any situation better and develop unexpected solutions. They are never afraid of trying out new approaches and end up solving problems faster than anyone else.
5. Team diversity
According to the American psychologist JP Guilford, there are two types of thinkers: divergent thinkers and convergent thinkers. The former are great at generating new ideas, while the latter are better at focusing on a single idea and making important decisions.
Creativity isn’t just about generating new ideas but also about putting them into practice. Creative thinkers recognise this and organise their teams accordingly. They let divergent thinkers take care of the idea generation stage and then ask convergent thinkers to implement these ideas.
6. Systemic thinking
One of the most crucial leadership skills to have is systemic thinking — the ability to understand how systems work and how each element relates to each other. Creative thinkers have a unique ability to connect the dots. Their minds are wired this way.
In the workplace, this is especially useful to make sure that operations run smoothly and to understand the dynamics between the different stakeholders.
7. Inspiring leadership
Creativity is a group effort. No single individual can solve every problem of an organisation. However, a creative leader can inspire others to nurture their creative thinking. This way, every team member can start to come up with new solutions, and that’s how companies become real innovation centres.
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