Why Creativity Matters in the Digital Age

by Karl Rohde — Get free updates of new posts here. Photo by Maxime Bhm on Unsplash

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Art is Everywhere

Where you are right now, stop for a moment and take a look around. Art is literally everywhere. Most things are the result of someone or some teams’ creative expression. Most things around us started as an idea and then progressed into tangible form.

The desk you sit at, the computer you might be using, the Internet and the mobile smartphone that connects you to the rest of the world. The car you drive and the roads you drive on, the clothes you wear and the places you go. The entertainment you enjoy, movies, music, food and drink. The tools and utensils you use every day. The house you live in and all the things inside. The list can go on. Most things around us went through the creative process to come into existence.

Picture yourself in your favourite bar. You may notice that it’s a type of art gallery. The beer, wine and spirit bottles are all unique and all have a distinct branding and logos. The bar venue’s counter, the colour scheme, surfaces, textures, lighting, layout and more is all the result of some artist. The wall colour, the seating, the tiles, the music and more is pulled into existence by someone’ creative endeavour.

Art Is Almost Everything

Almost everything that makes our lives interesting and or inspiring, ties back to art. Our lifestyle is a collection of art that resonates with our individuality and personal taste. The way we decorate our homes, the music we listen to, the restaurants we frequent, the movies we choose, the clothes we strut in, the movies we love, the sport that raises our blood pressure are all sources of art. It is all a derivative of creativity. We are all consumers of art. You don’t have to be a fashionista or a purveyor of original paintings to appreciate creativity.

Understand, art or creativity is an intrinsically human purpose-driven action and it makes life and business better. When art ramps up inspiration and imagination ignites. Apple would'nt be the worlds most valueable company if not for art. Art is the stuff we dream about. Art is the essence of our lives. It makes our lives rich. Art is what we do when we are truly alive when we move towards self-actualisation and do our best work.

“Art isn’t a result, it’s a journey. The challenge of our time is to find a journey worthy of your heart and soul. –Seth Godin (The Icarus Deception)

We Are All Artists

“I am not an artist!” you may say. Pause for a moment. We all have the potential express some form of creativity. It depends on how you define it. “Artist” is a pretty broad term. If you have the ability to create something you are an artist in principle. You may not be a classical artist like Edgar Degas or a contemporary artist like Damien Hirst, but in the context of creative expression everyone has that ability and its inborn, innate – just observe the natural creativity in children.

All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once you grow up. --Pablo Picasso

If art is everywhere and almost everything is art and we are all artists what are we obligated to do? Be an artist! While we all can’t be classical artists like painters, musicians, sculptors and designers we can work in a manner that captures the spirit of the artist and thereby ramp up the meaning and value in our work.

Art is the type of work and style of work that invigorates and creates flow - a state where time seems to dissapear. As pressure increases the soul ignites and comes alive. How else did Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel? How did Mozart compose Requiem in D-minor? I recently read how best-selling author, Ryan Holiday, created his book “Perennial Seller”. It’s a deeply humbling, monumental effort that reveals a burning desire an artist has to create and power that meaningful work has on the creator; it drives them on.

Artists are energised by their work. Their work is the fuel that enables them to create more. The stuff that kills them is not their work, it is the absence of their work. An actor needs to act and a painter needs to paint. A writer needs to write. As Steve Jobs commented, an artist needs to ship their art.

Teams and Art

My ongoing work with Agile teams bears out that a team is a creative group working to a common goal. When individuals feel safe to express their creativity teams come together. When team members focus on purpose and meaning, like artists do, extraordinary outcomes emerge for customers. And it just so happens that a notable side effect is a deep sense of satisfaction for the individuals. A team’s creative generosity to their customers creates a superlative cycle of progression. Art inspires more art. Creative expression inspires the artist and the recipient.

In the Entrepreneurial age customers are spoilt for choice and the pressure to be more creative, more innovative is well established. The research shows a purpose-driven team will outclass a team focused on “what” and “how”. An Agile team of artists may be just what you need in the face of digital disruption.

A happy team = a happy customer = a happy team = a happy customer. Art makes business sense.

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