Enterprise News

A creativity gap?

Dec 06/Jan 07 issue

A company devoid of the inspirational spark is likely to be an ephemeral organism in the business biosphere, or maybe not, according to research conducted by the Arts Council England and digital imaging outfit, Canon UK.

Over 1,800 UK bosses and workers responded to the survey and it seems the general view is that creativity is a luxury many businesses can afford to do without.
Only four per cent of managers said the first thing they look for in a prospective employee is artistic flair or creativity and a mere 36 per cent believe that creativity is very important for the future of their business.

In addition to this, 18 per cent of employees feel that original thinking is not encouraged in the workplace and 64 per cent of workers see themselves as functional rather than creative. A key point, the study argues, is that creativity also seems to be misunderstood: one in five managers shared the view that being creative means dressing unconventionally, participating in wacky stunts and even go as far as saying that it is unnecessary in the workplace.

While this may be the case, it is interesting to note the study doesn’t try to define creativity itself, which arguably acknowledges the intensively subjective nature of the topic. Indeed, the research goes on to suggest the existence of a ‘creativity gap’. It seems this is evident in large corporations where only two per cent of bosses place creativity at the top of their skills checklist when recruiting. Smaller businesses show more dynamism and individuality, the research says, with 15 per cent revealing creativity is the most important quality in a new employee.

By industry sector, sales & marketing (12 per cent) was shown to place the most value on creativity when considering new recruits, followed by retail (nine per cent). Surprisingly, 50 per cent of organisations responding to the survey in the educational sector did not support the arts in any way and one in three will not look for,qualifications which show creativity when recruiting.