A lot of great ideas are the result of people messing around.
Being silly. Thinking beyond the possible. Putting something ridiculous out there and then refining it into something meaningful. This is often how great ideas are generated.
The imagination can’t be driven by process. Creativity can be harnessed by a creative process, no doubt – there are ways in, there are ways to stimulate – but really imaginative solutions happen in the head where seemingly unconnected things make new connections (or when two heads, or more, make the unconnected connect in order to create a new whole).
The World Economic Forum claims creativity will be the third most desirable skill for employers by 2020 (moving from its current tenth position). To create the right conditions for this will require a seismic shift in terms of how organisations think about defining, hiring, and working with creativity.
In our systematised, automatised, algorithmic world, finding the time and space for imagination, for play at work – culturally and operationally – is going to be one of the toughest challenges for organisations to overcome (particularly in an increasingly volatile, chaotic world).
Despite this, there are good reasons to be optimistic about the future of work.
Above all, this is an ideas economy. Ideas are what we have to sell. We have to, as a commercial imperative, create new working environments that encourage and develop greater creativity.
Play has to be our priority in order to survive.