Britain’s creative industries are essential to the economy, but imagination must shape all our businesses
Let’s start with the good news. The UK economy is set to grow by 6 per cent in 2022. Admittedly this forecast, set by the OBR, was before we knew about the Omicron variant. But we must remain optimistic that the economy can continue to bounce back from the shockwave of the virus. When we think about the fuel that will power our economic growth, our creative flair will be absolutely crucial.
The UK’s creative industries are one of the country’s great strengths. According to figures, the cultural and creative industries contributed £115 billion to economy in 2019, corresponding to 6 per cent of GDP. They account for almost nearly 12 per cent of the UK’s international exports. British brands such as James Bond, Harry Potter, Kingsman and of course, Peppa Pig, have a global following. Creative fields like film, TV, books, music and fashion give the UK global reach.
Creativity is an act of turning imagination into reality, delivery and action. But we must not delegate creativity solely to those sectors. The value of creativity to the UK economy, for people in all businesses and industries, is immeasurable. The degree of creativity in different businesses, however, is extremely variable. While some organisations embrace the power of creativity, other more traditional organisations suppress the imagination of employees.
There are different ways that businesses quash and stifle creativity. From micro-managing, to budgeting time and resources, how a company manages their employees defines the level of creativity in a business.
A company may play it safe, rejecting ideas as they break or stretch the traditional way the business has operated. One example is the virtue-signalling, sententious worthiness that’s seemingly the parlance of so much of today’s banal advertising work. This homogeneity litters the landscape with easily forgotten communication clichés that blend into one another.
It is incumbent on CEOs to encourage creative behaviours in employees. They must breaking traditional thinking patterns to have fresh ideas.
It is also essential to create new and unexpected connections. Some of the best perspectives and ideas occur almost by chance, and could be sparked by talking to someone with a different mindset because of their life experience, age, or cultural background, or by applying the creativity from one industry to another. Powered by renewable energy, Tesla is consistently one of the highest-selling automotive brands and its success is fuelled by innovation capital that’s transformational and inspiring. The extraordinary number of new ideas in each Tesla vehicle, such as “auto-pilot” and the “sentry mode” surveillance system, make it easy to see why. People may feel comfortable with the familiar, but they are aroused by the new.
As we navigate our way out of the trials and tribulations of Covid, creativity will be an even more important attribute. The World Economic Forum has already recognised it as one of the top five skills for the future. The pandemic has accelerated the prevalence of technology in the workplace. AI and robotics will further disrupt the world of work. Several surveys show that more than half the job descriptions we’ll be using in 2030 have yet to be defined. The march of technology will not diminish the importance of creativity but enhance it.
Creativity is an essential part of our economic and technological future. It’s easy to speak about but businesses all-too-often hinder and hamper it through micro-managing, budgeting and playing safe. Both businesses, large and small, in all areas of the economy, must encourage their employees to reject traditional thinking, make new connections and gain new perspectives. If we allow it to flourish throughout the economy, creativity will certainly be a catalyst for boundless innovation and reinvigoration.