3 Common Fallacies About Creativity

Why do organizations have so much trouble enabling employee creativity? The answer lies in subtle and deeply ingrained behaviors that prevent companies from creating a creative culture. The authors identify three misconceptions that managers must overcome to effectively build creative cultures.

Leaders often cite creativity and innovation as critical components of business success. But many businesses fail to create and encourage environments where creativity can flourish. Managers make three common mistakes that prohibit new ideas and suppress suggestions that don’t align with their own.

A 2017 PwC survey of 1,379 CEOs determined that “innovation” was the top priority for most businesses. The same survey revealed 77% of CEOs struggle to find employees with creativity and innovation skills. Last year, a LinkedIn analysis ranked “creativity” as the most in-demand soft skill.

Why do organizations have so much trouble enabling employee creativity? The answer lies in subtle and deeply ingrained behaviors that prevent companies from creating a creative culture. We identify three misconceptions that managers must overcome to effectively build creative cultures.

The Productivity Illusion

A few months ago, articles critical of Google CEO Sundar Pichai argued his slow decision-making process stifled innovation. The articles incorrectly equated decision-making speed with innovation. We don’t have insight into whether his “slow” decisions were innovative, but the misconception that slow decision-making stifles innovation often leads to the illusion that productivity requires speed.

Coupled with other measures that Pichai has taken, notably distributed decision making and cutting down on vanity projects, it is just as likely that he is taking a disciplined approach to innovation and productivity, which is reflected in Google’s increased innovation, and growing stock price.

No matter the size of your company, you have likely come across a persona like the fictional employee we’ll refer to hereafter as “Dave.” Dave is a well-liked leader. He is known for quick thinking and decisiveness, and most people regard him as someone who gets things done. On a typical day, he spends most of his time in group meetings. He listens carefully to the issues his team addresses. He weighs in and helps them resolve the challenges.

He prides himself on not leaving the office until he executes his to-do list. With every item that he ticks off his list, he feels good about his impact. As he leaves the office, he is happy to have had such a productive day. Given Dave’s ability to address issues and help teams make forward progress, most people would consider him to be a great leader. Not so fast (and we mean that literally).

Trying to resolve things too quickly, especially for complex problems, is detrimental to innovation because you fall prey to premature closure. Resistance to premature closure — a key aspect of creativity — is our ability to keep an open mind when we already have a potential solution. Some of the best solutions don’t come in the initial meeting or two, but after a longer incubation period.

While mantras like “move fast and break things” can help push people towards action, they can backfire when the underlying problem is complex. In such situations, resisting the temptation to find a solution quickly (and often less creatively), and instead urging the team (much to their frustration) to keep searching for more ideas can lead to more innovative and far-reaching solutions.

To avoid premature closure, teams should arrive at an “almost final” decision and then intentionally delay action in favor of additional incubation time. During this time, everyone should commit to thinking about the problem and sharing their ideas. If the team can’t find a better approach during the incubation period, they should proceed with their original solution.

The Intelligence Illusion

Creative thinking is more cognitively demanding than logical thinking. It engages more parts of the brain across the left and right hemisphere and places higher demands on working memory. In that sense, creative thinking is a higher-order skill. In practical terms, this means that analyzing an idea is easier than synthesizing a new one from multiple sources.

When presented with a potential solution, it is easier to drill down on one aspect and discover ways that the solution might not work. Narrowly focusing on one dimension of the idea also means that the working memory must keep track of only a few things.

On the other hand, when trying to combine different ideas or perspectives, the brain works in overdrive — engaging both the executive and imagination networks, trying multiple combinations in quick succession to find a solution that might work. Working memory gets taxed more as all elements need to be retained during processing.

In an ideal scenario, organizations would pay people in proportion to their cognitive work. In practice, however, we tend to reward “critics” more than “synthesizers” because critics sound more intelligent. In a study on book reviews, Teresa Amabile found that people who wrote negative book reviews were perceived by others to be less likeable but more intelligent, competent, and expert compared to those who wrote positive book reviews.

Pfeffer and Sutton call this the “smart-talk trap,” where people engage in negative criticisms and complexities to appear more competent and are subsequently rewarded by the organization.

The intelligence illusion might seem mild, but it has pernicious consequences for an organization. When Steve Jobs took over Pixar, it had been struggling to produce a blockbuster despite being home to some of the smartest people. After noticing that excessive criticisms were shooting down creative ideas, he instituted a policy of “plussing,” where one could only offer a criticism if it included a potential solution.

That simple strategy pushed people from being criticizers to creators, changed team dynamics completely and led to a string of successes starting with the development of the movie Toy Story.

Leaders can improve group creativity by paying close attention to how ideas are discussed in diverse group settings. They should encourage team members to build on each other’s ideas instead of pushing individual ideas. This doesn’t mean that ideas should be accepted blindly when they contain flaws; instead, they should approach ideas with an open mind to acknowledge useful aspects and improve weaknesses using plussing or the similar “yes, but, and” approach.

The Brainstorming Illusion

One of us recently chaired the search for a senior academic leader. The search committee consisted of a diverse set of faculty, staff, and students operating virtually. It soon became clear that following a traditional group brainstorming approach would not work well, because several disenfranchised participants tended to self-censor.

To overcome this challenge, the group created a cadence of process meetings preceding decision meetings. In process meetings, protocols of inclusion (e.g., specifically including student voices) and “rules of the game” for the decision meeting were established. Although this took more time, it led to a high-trust process that resulted in the hire that had the confidence of the community.

When you ask people to describe an ideal brainstorming session the most common elements you hear are: people getting together, an energetic and exciting mood, and lots of ideas flying across the room. Simply put, most teams associate successful ideation with group work. Surprisingly, that’s not true.

Group brainstorming feels more productive, not because of the number of ideas that are produced, but because of social effects. The social connection we experience with each other during brainstorming makes us happier and we confuse that with productivity.

In practice, nominal brainstorming (where individual team members think independently before sharing their ideas) consistently outperforms traditional group brainstorming, especially for diverse teams. A Yale study found that the number of ideas produced by individuals and then aggregated (nominal group) was twice that of ideas generated by the group working together.

Ideation can be limited in group settings because of production blocking (when people don’t get a chance to interject their idea), evaluation apprehension (a fear of being judged negatively), lack of psychological safety (entrenched power structures) and social loafing (hiding in the group and not contributing a fair share).

To promote more creative ideas, leaders should utilize simple tools to capture individual ideas before they are opened to the whole group. Group discussions should be conducted asynchronously, where team members look at each other’s ideas and use them to refine and create new ideas. If done remotely, leaders should find other ways to bring the team together to bond and build trust with each other.

Business leaders agree that creativity and innovation contribute fundamentally to competitive advantage. Companies with an innovation-focused culture are three times more profitable. Leaders who seek to initiate a new creativity practice must consciously avoid the three illusions.

This work requires supporting clear and consistent political commitment, inclusive leadership style, thoughtful organizational structure, and an explicitly earmarked budget. Creativity programs are an urgent imperative. In a conceptual economy, these programs are the path to growth and an engaged workforce.

By: Pronita Mehrotra,Anu Arora, Sandeep Krishnamurthy

Source: 3 Common Fallacies About Creativity

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Your Brain Can Only Take So Much Focus

The ability to focus is an important driver of excellence. Focused techniques such as to-do lists, timetables, and calendar reminders all help people to stay on task. Few would argue with that, and even if they did, there is evidence to support the idea that resisting distraction and staying present have benefits: practicing mindfulness for 10 minutes a day, for example, can enhance leadership effectiveness by helping you become more able to regulate your emotions and make sense of past experiences. Yet as helpful as focus can be, there’s also a downside to focus as it is commonly viewed.

The problem is that excessive focus exhausts the focus circuits in your brain. It can drain your energy and make you lose self-control. This energy drain can also make you more impulsive and less helpful. As a result, decisions are poorly thought-out, and you become less collaborative.

So what do we do then? Focus or unfocus?

In keeping with recent research, both focus and unfocus are vital. The brain operates optimally when it toggles between focus and unfocus, allowing you to develop resilience, enhance creativity, and make better decisions too.

When you unfocus, you engage a brain circuit called the “default mode network.” Abbreviated as the DMN, we used to think of this circuit as the Do Mostly Nothing circuit because it only came on when you stopped focusing effortfully. Yet, when “at rest”, this circuit uses 20% of the body’s energy (compared to the comparatively small 5% that any effort will require).

The DMN needs this energy because it is doing anything but resting. Under the brain’s conscious radar, it activates old memories, goes back and forth between the past, present, and future, and recombines different ideas. Using this new and previously inaccessible data, you develop enhanced self-awareness and a sense of personal relevance. And you can imagine creative solutions or predict the future, thereby leading to better decision-making too. The DMN also helps you tune into other people’s thinking, thereby improving team understanding and cohesion.

There are many simple and effective ways to activate this circuit in the course of a day.

Using positive constructive daydreaming (PCD): PCD is a type of mind-wandering different from slipping into a daydream or guiltily rehashing worries. When you build it into your day deliberately, it can boost your creativity, strengthen your leadership ability, and also-re-energize the brain. To start PCD, you choose a low-key activity such as knitting, gardening or casual reading, then wander into the recesses of your mind.

But unlike slipping into a daydream or guilty-dysphoric daydreaming, you might first imagine something playful and wishful—like running through the woods, or lying on a yacht. Then you swivel your attention from the external world to the internal space of your mind with this image in mind while still doing the low-key activity.

Studied for decades by Jerome Singer, PCD activates the DMN and metaphorically changes the silverware that your brain uses to find information. While focused attention is like a fork—picking up obvious conscious thoughts that you have, PCD commissions a different set of silverware—a spoon for scooping up the delicious mélange of flavors of your identity (the scent of your grandmother, the feeling of satisfaction with the first bite of apple-pie on a crisp fall day), chopsticks for connecting ideas across your brain (to enhance innovation), and a marrow spoon for getting into the nooks and crannies of your brain to pick up long-lost memories that are a vital part of your identity.

In this state, your sense of “self” is enhanced—which, according to Warren Bennis, is the essence of leadership. I call this the psychological center of gravity, a grounding mechanism (part of your mental “six-pack”) that helps you enhance your agility and manage change more effectively too.

Taking a nap: In addition to building in time for PCD, leaders can also consider authorized napping. Not all naps are the same. When your brain is in a slump, your clarity and creativity are compromised. After a 10-minute nap, studies show that you become much clearer and more alert. But if it’s a creative task you have in front of you, you will likely need a full 90 minutes for more complete brain refreshing. Your brain requires this longer time to make more associations, and dredge up ideas that are in the nooks and crannies of your memory network.

Pretending to be someone else: When you’re stuck in a creative process, unfocus may also come to the rescue when you embody and live out an entirely different personality. In 2016, educational psychologists, Denis Dumas and Kevin Dunbar found that people who try to solve creative problems are more successful if they behave like an eccentric poet than a rigid librarian. Given a test in which they have to come up with as many uses as possible for any object (e.g. a brick) those who behave like eccentric poets have superior creative performance. This finding holds even if the same person takes on a different identity.

When in a creative deadlock, try this exercise of embodying a different identity. It will likely get you out of your own head, and allow you to think from another person’s perspective. I call this psychological halloweenism.

For years, focus has been the venerated ability amongst all abilities. Since we spend 46.9% of our days with our minds wandering away from a task at hand, we crave the ability to keep it fixed and on task. Yet, if we built PCD, 10- and 90- minute naps, and psychological halloweenism into our days, we would likely preserve focus for when we need it, and use it much more efficiently too. More importantly, unfocus will allow us to update information in the brain, giving us access to deeper parts of ourselves and enhancing our agility, creativity and decision-making too.

By: Srini Pillay

Srini Pillay, M.D. is an executive coach and CEO of NeuroBusiness Group. He is also a technology innovator and entrepreneur in the health and leadership development sectors, and an award-winning author. His latest book is Tinker, Dabble, Doodle, Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind. He is also a part-time Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and teaches in the Executive Education Programs at Harvard Business School and Duke Corporate Education, and is on internationally recognized think tanks.

Source: Your Brain Can Only Take So Much Focus

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Srini Pillay, M.D. is an executive coach and CEO of NeuroBusiness Group. He is also a technology innovator and entrepreneur in the health and leadership development sectors, and an award-winning author. His latest book is Tinker, Dabble, Doodle, Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind. He is also a part-time Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and teaches in the Executive Education Programs at Harvard Business School and Duke Corporate Education, and is on internationally recognized think tanks.

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Future Of Work: The 5 Biggest Workplace Trends In 2022

Much has been written about the huge changes in our working lives during the past two years – driven of course by necessity and concerns for safety. In 2022, the pandemic is very much still a fact of life for many of us. However, it’s fair to say that we’ve learned to adapt to new behavioral patterns and expectations as we do our jobs. If we are among the millions of “knowledge workers” who find ourselves with more freedom to choose when and where we work, then hopefully, we are making the most of the opportunity to strike a better balance between home and working life.

Of course, however much there is to write about the widespread shift away from offices and centralized workplaces, there are many occupations and professions where this simply isn’t an option. To frontline workers in healthcare, retail, teaching, transport, and security – among many other industries – buzzwords like “hybrid workplace” probably have very little impact on their day-to-day lives. But they are unlikely to remain untouched by other trends on this list, as technology opens up opportunities for new ways of working and continues to redefine the relationship between us and our workplaces.

Hybrid working

When it comes to where we work, there will continue to be three main models – centralized workplaces, decentralized remote organizations, and the hybrid “best of both worlds” approach. What’s likely to change in 2022 is that it’s more likely that we, as workers, will have the choice rather than being forced to align with whatever model your organization has chosen out of necessity.

Organizations are clearly undergoing a change in their relationship with the idea of a centralized workplace. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, 69% of large companies expected an overall decrease in the amount of office space they would be using, according to research by KPMG.

Hybrid structures will range from companies maintaining permanent centralized offices with hot-desking to accommodate the fact that staff will more frequently work remotely, to doing away with offices entirely and relying on co-working spaces and serviced meeting rooms to support the needs of a primarily remote workforce.

A report recently commissioned by video messaging platform Loom found that 90% of employees surveyed – including workers and managers – are happier with the increased freedom they now have to work from home, suggesting that this is likely to be a trend that is here to stay as we move into 2022.

AI-augmented workforceThe World Economic Forum predicts that AI and automation will lead to the creation of 97 million new jobs by 2025. However, people working in many existing jobs will also find their roles changing,  as they are increasingly expected to augment their own abilities with AI technology. Initially, this AI will primarily be used to automate repetitive elements of their day-to-day roles and allow workers to focus on areas that require a more human touch – creativity, imagination, high-level strategy, or emotional intelligence, for example.

Some examples include lawyers who will use technology that cuts down the amount of time spent reviewing case histories in order to find precedents, and doctors who will have computer vision capabilities to help them analyze medical records and scans to help them diagnose illness in patients. In retail, augmented analytics helps store managers with inventory planning and logistics and helps sales assistants predict what individual shoppers will be looking for when they walk through the door.

Marketers have an ever-growing range of tools at their disposal to help them target campaigns and segment audiences. And in engineering and manufacturing roles, workers will increasingly have access to technology that helps them understand how machinery works and predict where breakdowns are likely to happen.

Staffing for resilience

Pre-pandemic, the priority was generally to have been to hire staff that would create efficient organizations. Mid and post-pandemic, the emphasis has shifted firmly in the direction of resilience. Whereas built-in redundancy or overlaps in skills might previously have been seen as inefficient, today, it’s seen as a sensible precaution.

This certainly encompasses another sub-trend, which is that employers are coming to understand the critical importance of building employee healthcare and wellbeing (including mental health) strategies into their game plan. Many are now trying to take more responsibility for helping their workforce maintain physical, mental, and financial wellbeing. A challenge here that companies will come up against in 2022 is finding ways to do this that hit objectives without being overly intrusive or invasive of employees’ privacy and personal lives.

Ensuring a workforce is healthy enough to keep a business running is clearly a critical element of resilience, but it also covers the implementation of processes that are more flexible, with built-in redundancies to provide cover when disaster strikes, resulting in operational efficiency becoming compromised. These processes are sure to play an increasingly big part in the day-to-day lives of workers as we move through 2022.

Less focus on roles, more focus on skills

Gartner says, “To build the workforce you’ll need post-pandemic, focus less on roles – which group unrelated skills – than on the skills needed to drive the organization’s competitive advantage and the workflows that fuel this advantage.”

Skills are critical because they address core business challenges, with the competencies needed in a workforce to overcome those challenges. Roles, on the other hand, describe the way individual members of a workforce relate to an overall organizational structure or hierarchy. We’ve certainly seen this trend gestating for some time, with the move towards more “flat” organizational structures as opposed to strictly hierarchical teams with a direct reporting, chain-of-command approach to communication and problem-solving.

By focussing on skills, businesses address the fact that solving problems and answering their core business questions is the key to driving innovation and success within information-age enterprises.

From the worker’s point of view, focusing on developing their skills, rather than further developing their abilities to carry out their role, leaves them better positioned to capitalize on new career opportunities. This shift in focus from roles to skills is likely to be a key trend for both organizations and workers during 2022.

Employee monitoring and analytics

Controversial though it may be, research shows that employers are increasingly investing in technology designed to monitor and track the behavior of their employees in order to drive efficiency. Platforms such as Aware that allow businesses to monitor behavior across email and tools such as Slack in order to measure productivity, are being seen as particularly useful by managers overseeing remote workforces.

It builds on functionality created by earlier products such as Hitachi’s Business Microscope that tracked movements of staff around physical office blocks and could be used to monitor, among other things, how often bathroom breaks were taken, and which workers spend the most amount of time talking to others as opposed to sitting at their workstation.

Of course, it seems that it would be easy for companies to use these tools in a way that would be seen as overbearing or intrusive by their workers, and in my opinion, that would clearly be a recipe for disaster. However, ostensibly at least, the idea is to use them to gain broad oversights into workforce behavior rather than focus on individuals’ activity and use them as tools for enforcing discipline.

Companies that invest in this technology have a fine line to tread, and it remains to be seen whether the net effect will be a boost to productivity or a “chilling effect” on individual freedoms. If it’s the latter, it’s unlikely to end well for the companies involved. However, for better or worse, it seems likely that this kind of technology will play an increasingly large role in the workplace during 2022.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, futurist, and a strategic business & technology advisor to governments and companies. He helps organizations improve their

Source: Future Of Work: The 5 Biggest Workplace Trends In 2022

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How Empathetic Culture Drives Startup Development

Empathy is often viewed as a form of compassion or something that makes individuals feel good about themselves rather than a means of making policies. After two years of struggling against employee burnout caused by the pandemic, empathy is becoming increasingly important in corporate culture.

The fuzziness of home and work life has been one of the major challenges, leading to a rise in loneliness and depression. Startups, predominantly owned and run by young people, are demanded to be the leading example of companies that humanize their employees. So, how can empathetic culture drive startup development?

Why Empathetic Culture?

COVID-19 has tested everyone’s endurance. Businesses are losing talent in vast numbers either due to layoff or voluntary resignation. Many employees are emotionally and physically weary, resulting in workplace burnout, a WHO-defined syndrome defined as continuous job stress that has not been effectively handled. According to the Harvard Business Review, the duty to address burnout has been passed from the individuals to the corporation.

Lack of boundaries, increased financial stress, and concerns about job security have all contributed to a drop in mental health and anxiety. In a global survey conducted by Qualtrics, two-fifths of respondents (41.6%) claimed their mental health has deteriorated since the onset of COVID-19, while 57.2% indicated increased woe.

Increase Employee Engagement

Do you know that empathetic leaders tend to have positive impacts for employees in terms of engagement? This is why the empathetic culture needs to be implemented top down. According to recent research by Catalyst, 61% of respondents with highly empathetic senior leaders report being inventive at work either frequently or always, compared to those with less empathetic ones.

Meanwhile, 76% of those who work with highly empathetic senior leaders say they are engaged, unlike 32% of people who work with less empathetic bosses. These findings have underlined that empathy can be a key strategy for responding to crises, development, and a crucial factor for creating inclusive places of work in which everyone can connect, contribute, and succeed, not merely as a business strategy.

Read Also: What Do Successful Startups Have in Common

If you’re looking to embrace empathy in your startup culture, here’s how to do it right:

Have the Right Mindset

The first step in implementing a culture of empathy in your startup starts with the right mindset. This means that everyone should be on the same boat when it comes to realizing the importance of having an empathetic culture. As a leader, you can clarify some common misunderstandings about empathy, such as empathetic culture being only a gimmick. Clearly show that you are committed to empathy through your actions as a leader. If employees see you actualizing a culture of sympathy, they will come to the right mindset on how important this is.

Utilize Data to Track Progresses

Now that digitalization is inseparable from business operation, why not use it to enhance empathetic culture at your startup? You can track employees’ progresses and bottlenecks using a series of data-driven metrics. Data is essential for empathy since it allows you to identify any empathy gaps and potentials. The implementation of empathy may be broken down into smaller pieces: empowerment, value, belonging, reassurance, honesty, cooperation, and ethics.

Doing this can make arranging metrics easier. If you are distributing an employee survey, make sure it includes clear questions regarding empathy and this is to be done regularly instead of semiannually or annually.

Keep it Simple but Significant 

Empathy is not always about large movements; but rather a series of small-scale compassion and understanding approaches or low-cost, high-impact activities. For example, if you are financially earning more than your employees, you can casually buy them a few pans of pizza when the monthly salary payment is still far ahead.

This small gesture shows an empathy that those who earn more actually care about those who earn less without looking too intimidating, thanks to the magic of food. Aside from activities that involve money, caring is a form of empathy as well. Making a unique greeting card for employees during their birthdays and sending it to the teamwork group so others can say congratulations can be one of the simplest, no cost gestures.

Caring for the people in your startup should be a priority. Mental health, stress, and burnout are collective responsibilities for the company to deal with, thus  empathetic culture is about caring and making it actionable for everyone. Failure to use empathy results in less creativity, lesser engagement, and lower loyalty, which can be the start of a downfall. After all, business development can be easier to achieve when the people in it are happily engaged.

Source: How Empathetic Culture Drives Startup Development – StartUpJobs Asia Blog

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Future Graduates Will Need Creativity and Empathy – Not Just Technical Skills

Rapidly advancing technology, including automation and AI and its impact on education, skills and learning in the UK, is a subject of much debate for universities. How can institutions equip students with the skills they need to succeed in a changing jobs market? It’s a valid question, though often the answers are the problem.

Since technology is driving these changes, there’s an assumption that the government should keep focusing on Stem subjects. These are often referred to as “hard skills”, which are prioritised in primary school and right through to university level. In the meantime, “soft skills” – which are already disadvantaged by the term’s connotations – are being relegated even further down the pecking order in terms of curriculum must-haves.

This is a mistake. Much evidence suggests that soft skills are far more beneficial to graduates than is currently acknowledged. Research from Harvard University on the global jobs market has shown that Stem-related careers grew strongly between 1989 and 2000, but have stalled since. In contrast, jobs in the creative industries – the sector probably most associated with the need for soft skills – in the UK rose nearly 20% to 1.9m in the five years to June 2016.

Soft skills are in fact increasingly in demand in the workplace: Google cites creativity, leadership potential and communication skills as top prerequisites for both potential and current employees.

So why, in an age cited as the “fourth industrial revolution”, are soft skills so highly sought after? With the rapid evolution of technology, a focus on hard skills leaves students vulnerable to change, as these often have a shorter shelf life.

According to research by the World Economic Forum, more than one in four adults reported a mismatch between their skills and those needed for their job role. Although technical skills, such as learning to code, can be taught and assessed more easily and soft skills take time to develop and are more complex in nature, the latter can turn out to be more beneficial in the long term.

If taught well, these skills should enable students to adapt to change more easily, gain a greater understanding of people and the world around them, and ultimately progress further in their chosen career.

Of course technical, practical and more easily quantifiable skills are important but without the curriculum placing equal, if not greater, importance on soft skills, our governments and education systems are missing a huge trick. Hard skills may help a student get a job in a particular industry, but soft skills will help them disrupt it, creating change for the better and achieving a wider impact in their chosen field.

To return to the Google example, many of the company’s top “characteristics of success” are soft skills: being a good coach, communicating and listening well, possessing insights into other points of view, being supportive of one’s colleagues, critical thinking and problem solving, and being able to make connections across complex ideas. It’s these fundamentally human emotional and social skills which should be nurtured, developed and celebrated as the key to future success for students and society in general.

Many universities have embraced this, teaching students soft skills such as critical thinking, idea generation and interdisciplinary ways of working alongside hard skills. But the issue goes much deeper: it needs to be tackled across the entire education system, so that by the time students reach university level they are already familiar with the importance of, and the qualities needed to develop, these essential skills.

With enrolment in arts and humanities degrees in decline and the government’s continued focus on technical Stem subjects, the value of soft skills may be in danger of being lost along the way. Perhaps a good place to start would be a reframing of the language we use to describe these skills as, if the evidence is correct, they’re not so “soft” after all.

By: Natalie Brett

Natalie Brett is the head of London College of Communication and pro vice-chancellor of the University of the Arts, London

Source: Future graduates will need creativity and empathy – not just technical skills | Natalie Brett | The Guardian

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