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The CURIOOKids Malaysia Blog
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The CURIOOKids Malaysia Blog

Why Creativity is one of the Most Important Skills in the World

Paul Blackstone (3 minute read)


In 13 years’ time, the year 2035, it is highly likely your child will be applying for a job that doesn’t even exist today – and no, we are not talking about flying cars or crazy technology inventions. The world of work is evolving quickly, which means we have to prepare young people today with the skills and mindsets for a future job role that is almost impossible to predict.


So which skills should we be teaching our children to prepare them for this fascinating future? 

All recent studies on the future of work and the skills companies need most lead to a surprise at the very top of the list: creativity


According to the most recent study, creativity is the second most in-demand skills in the world, with blockchain computing at the top. Macroeconomic trends suggest creativity will only become more important for this generation of young people moving forward.

To understand why it is so important, let’s start with a definition on what it means to be creative:

It is: the ability to solve problems with relevance and originality


When many people think of creativity, they think of artists, designers, writers, musicians and painters etc. But that is not what it means to be creative, because creativity does not mean artistry. Yes an artist can be creative, but so can a software engineer, a mathematician, a salesperson or a CEO.

Let’s break down the definition into its two parts:

> Relevancy means solving problems. As in, we have a problem now and we need to come up a solution to it. Any solution must ‘fix’ or ‘solve’ the problem

> Originality can be harder to judge, but its when you are able to solve a problem in novel or new way. A way that isn’t what’s expected or may not have been done before.


Putting it all together, creativity is really just solving problems in an original way. The latest  cognitive research shows that like any skills, by putting in the time and repetitive practice, we can all learn to be more creative.


Why is Creativity so Important Today?

If you look at the impact technology is having on the workforce and the massive increases in technology capability over the next few years, with AI and automation, basically…..anything that can be automated, will soon be automated, which cuts down on a lot of process-orientated tasks.


That same phenomenon is happening across every industry and every job function. Software companies don’t just want someone who can write code, they want someone who can dream up new software to fix old problems. Companies don't want business analysts who just crunch numbers; they want analysts who can think of creative solutions based off what the numbers are telling them.


As AI continues to become a bigger part of this world, process-driven jobs are becoming even more obsolete. No longer will companies pay people to do the same task again and again; robots can likely take on those tasks. Instead, companies are most interested in finding people who can think of new, better solutions.

Being Creative as an Adult, Starts with Developing Idea Generation Skills as a Child.

Creativity is essentially a form of problem-solving. But it is a special type of problem-solving – one that involves problems with difficult answers. Creativity involves adaptability and flexibility of thought. Despite the obvious growing importance of these cognitive thinking skills, unfortunately, our current school system is very poorly equipped and resourced to support the development of increasingly complex problems solving

NASA Researcher George Land undertook a world famous research study to test the creativity of children ranging in ages from three-to-five years old. This is a test that assesses the ability to come up with new, different, and innovative ideas to problems. It is the same creativity test he devised for NASA to select innovative engineers, astronauts and scientists. He re-tested the same children at 10 years of age, and again at 15 years of age. The results were astounding and show a massive decline in idea generation and creative problem solving as we get older:

Ability to Come Up with Innovative and Creative Ideas as we Age





Test results amongst 5-year-olds: 98%
Test results amongst 10-year-olds: 30%
Test results amongst 15-year-olds: 12%
Same test given to 280,000 adults: 2%


“What we have concluded,” wrote Land, “is that non-creative behavior is learned during our schooling.”


How to Improve our Creativity as we Get Older?

For young people to develop and improve their idea generation fluency, we need to take them through well-structured activities that challenge their problems solving abilities on a repetitive basis over a period of time. More practice, equates to improved creative abilities. Idea generation activities and projects require children to generate as many responses as they can to a particular problem or situation, as is done in brainstorming. Overtime, studies show that with more practice, children’s responses become increasingly original and show more creative potential.

At CURIOO, the focus of developing creativity is on the process: the generation of ideas and developing those ideas using the design thinking framework. Across our subject areas (Entrepreneur, Creative Design, Technology and English), our teachers are trained to accept multiple ideas in a non-evaluative atmosphere to help our students generate more ideas or move to the next stage of self-evaluation. As our students move through our level structure, we encourage our students to explore their ability to generate and evaluate ideas and hypotheses, and revise their ideas based on their own evaluation and the feedback of others.

How can Parents Encourage Creativity in their Children?

Given the importance of creativity for this generation of young people, we need a set of processes that promote and encourage young people to retain and practice creativity.

We can do that if we:
1. Provide an environment that allows the child to explore and play without undue restraints
2. Adapt to children’s ideas rather than trying to structure the child’s ideas to fit the adults
3. Accept unusual ideas from children and suspend judgement of children’s problem-solving
4. Enrol the child in programs that use creative problem-solving in all parts of the curriculum. Use the problems they see in the world around them as actual problem-solving opportunities
5. Allow children to explore all possibilities, moving from popular to more original ideas
6. Emphasize process e.g. brainstorming, brainwriting rather than the end result i.e. keep practicing and quality and output improves.

And, despite what we might have thought previously, creativity is a skill. And, like any skill, it means you can get better at it – if you work at it.