Last October, I was sitting around a campfire in Ubud, Bali with 15 strangers.
One-by-one, we read a selection of mind-crafted passages out loud, and straight away, you could tell that some words had never been spoken before.
Instead, they lay buried inside an imagination, waiting for their moment to stumble out of their owner’s lips and melt within the bonfire’s haze.
Other words didn’t need an introduction — they brazenly bounced out into the intimate audience, ready and waiting for bountiful praise.
And then it dawned on me.
Despite hailing from different career paths and having mixed writing experience, we all had creative skills to share.
Creativity is like a running tap
As American poet Maya Angelou once wrote, “You can’t use up creativity — the more you use the more you have.”
There’s no limit to your creativity or how many creative skills you should acquire while at university or in your workplace because it is continuous.
From the moment the first Neanderthal carved their drawings into a stone wall to the first AI-algorithm scribbles from Ai-Da, —a humanoid robot artist — creativity remains with us throughout the ages.
Bernard Marr, a best-selling author and technology advisor, labeled creativity as one of the 10 most important job skills companies will be searching for this year.
He believes that it is essential that creative humans are employed by companies to invent, imagine something new and dream up a better tomorrow.
Marr also thinks that tomorrow’s workplaces will demand new ways of thinking, and human creativity is critical to moving forward.
You don’t necessarily need to pursue a creative degree to sharpen your creative skills at university or in the workplace either.
I graduated with an International Media and Communications Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nottingham.
Throughout my degree, I focused on cultural politics, the changing face of globalisation and the art of cross-cultural communication.
Yet on the side, I would hone creative skills such as creative problem solving through university projects and poetry writing through my regular student society meet-ups.
And it was the unison of this creativity and my communications qualification that led me to work as a journalist.
Looking back, I now realise that my creative skills were an asset to my career, as they helped me to pitch unique story angles to secure this role.
Creativity shadows your every move
Think about it. Creativity is at the core of everything.
The screen you’re reading this article from exists because Karl Ferdinand Braun, a Nobel-prize winning physicist and inventor who built the first CRT (Cathode-Ray Tube) in 1897 — a technology that was later used to display images on early televisions and computer monitors.
The construction of the CRT was partly due to Braun’s creative vision. Without creativity, would he have translated his inventive ideas into real-life technologies?
Inventions show that creative skills aren’t limited to creative arts degrees — they roll into many subjects, including technology, engineering and science.
Machines are getting more creative too. According to Tech HQ, Artificial Intelligence (AI)’s left-brain potential and its ability to paw through massive datasets — extracting insights, predictions, and patterns — are now clear to see. This informs a programme’s next action, a use that is not exclusive from creative industries or art.
A recent feat by Google’s Arts and Culture Lab in Paris demonstrates this.
Using machine learning, it organised a collection of 140,000 photos from 4,000 fashion shows by colour palette. The result is a visualisation of a colorful pattern, thanks to the machine’s categorisation of a multitude of runway looks by main colours.
“Everyone can now use the color palette visualization to explore colors, designers, seasons, and trends that come from Fashion Weeks worldwide. You can even snap or upload a picture of, let’s say, your closet, or autumn leaves and discover how designers used a similar color palette in fashion,” Damien Henry, Technical Program Manager, Google Arts & Culture stated.
Throwback: Can robots really be creative? The makers of Ai-Da hope to prove that they can be pic.twitter.com/Rqk4TIWG2w
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 12, 2020
Creativity is a future currency
Be that as it may, American philosopher Sean Dorrance Kelly argues that AI will never achieve the same level of creativity as a human can.
“Are our most creative artists and thinkers about to be massively surpassed by machines? No,” Kelly said.
“Human creative achievement, because of the way it is socially embedded, will not succumb to advances in artificial intelligence.”
Therefore, creative skills could be a lucrative career currency to possess in the future.
They could convert to valuable problem-solving skills and help surge your career in the engineering sector. Or they could translate to abstract thinking skills, and push your public sector career forward.
After all, there are limitless career paths for your creative skills to explore.
And without them, you could end up at a roadblock in the workplace, trying to get a one-up on technology and stuck figuring out how to outsmart an AI-mind.
So if you ever have a spare moment at university, your workplace, or even at a bonfire in Bali — try to sharpen your creative skills so you that you can pierce through that future roadblock and progress even further in your future career.