November 27, 2017

Surviving the Disruptive Era with Creativity

In my last week’s article I emphasised that in today’s world where digital disruption is prominent, in order to stay relevant or if lucky stay ahead of the market, we would need the skill that is suitable to this fast paced changeable environment in which I clearly spelled out as creativity or creative thinking.

In fact, an IBM survey conducted across 15,000 CEOs worldwide supports that creative thinking is the most sought out leadership competency today and for the future. Also, reports of management excellence from McKinsey to KPMG state that creativity among the workforce is a basic requirement for long-term business success.

Why? Simply put, let me ask you this: Have you ever heard of a business that had great success without any creative or innovative ideas? The chances that you have are thin to probably none because creativity is the main driving force behind most businesses’ success. Also, creativity and innovation are often the reason that businesses flourish in today’s world.

Moreover, the reasons why creativity is one of the most needed skills today could be varied from being a driver for economic and social development to the fact that creativity along with complex problem solving and critical thinking are the three most important skills a child need to thrive according to the Future of Jobs report.

The good news is, we’re all born creative and our IQ is actually increasing with every generation, but there is bad news – as our IQ increases, our CQ (Creative Quotient) is declining.

To elaborate this, surely we all can recall that every child begins their journey through life with an incredible potential i.e. a creative mindset that approaches the world with curiosity, with questions, and with a desire to learn about the world and themselves. However, this mindset is often worn out or even erased by conventional educational practices when young children enter school along with other roadblocks along the way in the working environment.

According to the World Economic Forum, the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking is often cited as an example of how children’s divergent thinking diminishes over time in which they found that 98% of children in kindergarten are “creative geniuses” – they can think of endless opportunities of how to use a paper clip. However, this ability is reduced drastically as children go through the formal schooling system and by age 25, only 3% remain creative geniuses.

Andrew Grant, CEO of Tirian International Consultancy and co-author of best-selling books ‘Who Killed Creativity?’ shared during the event “Entering a new Reality” which was held last month his diagnostic experiential learning tool to identify the key ‘suspects’ that are responsible for killing creativity in adults.

The 7 murder culprits are the control crew, the fear family, the insulation clique, the narrow-minded mob, the apathy clan, the pessimism posse and the pressure pack. These fictional characters, though very real in our lives, can get into your heads, block the creative thinking process and in turn prevent the organization from reaching its full potential.

To make matters worse, as I mentioned previously, we live in a world where from schools up to our career, we are taught in a conformist environment. We are moulded and expected to do things a certain way that it restricts and diminishes our natural ability to be creative.

The simple fact is, the conformity that we are moulded in is killing creativity; however, there is hope. We are able to bring our creativity back to life. After knowing and understanding what is hindering our creativity particularly within organisations, we can find solutions to foster an environment that creates creativity as a way to generate fresh ideas better, faster and more cost effectively which is vital in today’s business environment.

All in all, I’d say we need creativity now more than ever. Faced with the many challenges from disruptions, we need ideas that reach far and disrupt the status quo.


Ms. Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s leading Executive, Leadership and Innovation Capability Development Center.

She can be reached by email at or

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