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Is creativity the future of work?

Published on 18 September 2018

Is creativity the future of work?

Currently, 1 in 11 roles is in the creative economy and where these roles are set apart from others is that 90% of very creative work is unlikely to be done by robots. Where talk tends to go to automation when discussing our future working lives, there are other, lesser discussed impacts that we will see play out such as the green economy or changing demographic of the workplace. But when you put all these factors together it is the creative skills that will be the difference, Nesta say.
 
Regardless of the industry you are in, creative skills are required to develop new products or services, develop new business models and to deploy design thinking to understand customer behaviour.
 
In a recent article by Harvard Business Review, ‘Why Even AI-Powered Factories Will Have Jobs for Humans’ Elon Musk is quoted as saying, “Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.”
 
A global study of over 1000 companies found that the “greatest performance gains are achieved not when machines are used to replace employees but when they are deployed to work alongside them… people help machines become better and machines enable people to achieve increases in performance.” By equipping supervisors and technicians with additional analytical and problem-solving skills their roles and their capabilities develop.
 
We’ll see new jobs being advertised, jobs that we haven’t even heard of yet. Marks and Spencer has just announced their retail data academy where over 1000 employees will be invested in to ‘create a new raft of data skilled leaders to lead digital transformation across the business’, funded through the apprenticeship levy. Interestingly 60% of jobs in the creative industry are degree level roles which is double the number of jobs in other parts of the economy.
 
The opening line of a recent article on the future of work reads as follows…
 
“It is a quintessentially modern conundrum of office etiquette: when the fire alarm sounds, is it OK to leave the workplace robot at their desk? For at least one British organisation People Management spoke to, the answer is no – the resident electronic employee is seen as every bit as sentient as its human equivalents (and, in some cases, perhaps more so) and is carried out on staff members’ shoulders. But the fact such a question is even being asked tells us something intriguing: industrial robots are no longer curiosities but are rapidly becoming colleagues.”
 
Interestingly, where Nesta’s research makes the argument that the ageing demographic means that we will need people with compassion to be carers, the creators of Pepper, the 4ft humanoid on wheels, discuss its role in residential homes and support groups for those on the autistic spectrum amongst other things.
 
Whether we choose to embrace our creativity and develop it to the point that human plus robot is better than either one alone or sidestep the whole conundrum and let our creativity be our USP, there’s no doubt of interesting times ahead as the fourth industrial revolution, the skills shortage and the changing demographic of the nation all come together, with us at the heart.  
 
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Date Published: 18/09/2018

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