Lean into uncertainty with creativity - what we learnt from Davos

"Life's most persistent and urgent question" said Martin Luther King Jr, "is what are you doing for others?" In the days following the anniversary of his birthday, in a small alpine town in Switzerland, leaders met at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting to discuss collective challenges under the theme of 'Responsive and Responsible Leadership'.

This forum in Davos has, over the years, been where global challenges are discussed to surface awareness of and promote creativity and coordination to solve these complex global problems.

In fact, more than 10 years ago, long before the focus on big data, the WEF warned that the elimination of privacy would reduce social cohesion and, as early as 2013, they highlighted the rapid spread of misinformation and fake news. Davos, you could say, is a lead indicator.

So, what skills will be most in demand in 2020?

Coming back to the theme of this year’s forum, Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, said that responsible leadership in the business sphere meant giving workers the skills they need for the coming wave of change. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, with artificial intelligence and automation, is changing the fundamentals of work. A child today can expect to change jobs at least seven times over the course of their lives and five of those jobs don’t even exist yet.

Each year, the WEF publishes its research on the emerging skills that future workforces will need. It’s worth taking a look at the similarities and differences as we look towards 2020.

WEF - Future of Jobs Report

The top 3 predicted skills are complex solving problem, critical thinking and creativity.

These are amongst the priority skills that growth-ready organisations need to recruit for and build within their teams to remain competitive and drive sustainable growth.

The creativity challenge for business

A fundamental challenge for businesses is that they are not necessarily helped by the education system or by technology. In one of the most watched TED talks of all time, the educationalist Sir Ken Robinson shared his belief that schools around the world are using too narrow a definition of intelligence and actually educating children out of being creative by the time they leave school. Some are arguing that technology, fuelling screen fixation and over-communication are making us more distracted, lowering our tolerance for boredom and generally making us less engaged and creative in the work that we do.

Invest in creativity to solve your most complex problems

If you want bold marketing, sales people who can innovate in the fast-changing commerce landscape and HR mavericks who can positively disrupt the employee experience, then building the creative capacity of your workforce is essential. If people enter work unconfident about their creative potential, then companies need to create working practices and environments where creativity can flourish.

At Brand Learning, we don’t believe that creativity is a label you give to individuals or departments; we believe that you can rebuild creative confidence and awaken the ingenuity of your people. Focusing on the right human skills such as creativity, allows us to transform and become more adaptable. To become more comfortable with change and, fundamentally, more capable to meet the exciting challenges that lay ahead.


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