How creativity can drive positive change in corporates

03 September 2021 3 min. read
More news on

Improving levels of creativity can allow businesses to adapt to, and consequently survive in an ever-changing environment, according to a new report by cultural consultancy Barker Langham and Culture Mile, a new cultural district in the City of London.

Corporates and business leaders continuously need to adapt to a rapidly changing environment – a necessity that has been highlighted yet again by the Covid-19 pandemic. Already in 2010, a study published by IBM based on the views of 1,500 CEOs from 60 countries and 30 industries worldwide showed that creativity was one of the most important leadership skills for adaptability, allowing them to “successfully navigate in an increasingly complex world.”

More recently, the World Economic Forum has also singled out creativity as one of the top three skills that will be required by employees in the future as an increasing number of manual tasks are substituted by artificial intelligence, making way for jobs that require more soft skills.

The benefits of creativity

Now, a report published by Barker Langham and Culture Mile suggests that creativity can help address five core challenges that businesses are dealing with today, namely wellbeing, organisational transformation, innovation, financial return, and identity.

For instance, integrating the concept of creativity into the branding and workplace culture of companies can help attract global talents, as well as consumers, that are enticed by more modern and philanthropic companies. A workplace that incorporates creativity into daily practices is also more likely to be on the forefront of innovation, as employees are encouraged and supported to think outside of the box, which, in turn, would have a positive impact on the company’s returns, according to the Barker Langham and Culture Mile analysis.

Among the five domains, however, the mental and physical wellbeing of employees is currently a prime concern for corporates. In the UK, 61% of the workforce has endured work-related mental health issue at one point or another in their career, with 300,000 employees losing their jobs each year due to long-term mental health problems. The report reveals that the resulting staff turnover and low productivity cost employers up to £42 billion annually.

This is where creativity comes in. A recent study by Cass Business School found that 80% of employees “felt that art in the workplace improved their sense of wellbeing,” which, in turn, has positive implications for their team spirit, overall productivity, and financial return.

Three models of collaboration

But how can corporates and business leaders implement creativity in their work environments? The authors suggest that increasing levels of creativity is not a task that corporates can achieve on their own. It is brought about, rather, through a collaboration between the corporate, the creative and the cultural sector, which, in turn, will also inform a more mutually beneficial relationship between these industries.

The report highlights three main ways in which this cross-sector collaboration takes place to benefit all parties involved. Businesses can facilitate cultural engagement, for instance by providing employees with tickets for arts events or by organising seminars on arts and culture.

Alternatively, collaboration can be established through creative interventions, such as when businesses offer art therapy or hire artists as consultants, or through inter-sectoral collaboration, which includes the creation of new products or ideas through skill-sharing across sectors.

Yet, there are still a number of challenges that prevent these advantages from being more widely implemented. For instance, the report suggests that the value of letting employees spend more time on creative endeavors is still not well understood, and consequently not fully acknowledged for its potential. The lack of communication and understanding between the corporate and creative or cultural sector is another barrier that needs to be overcome.