Creative Problem Solving

Most Important Skill for 21st Century.

The Art of Creativity

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American business is awakening to a new age. It started about a decade ago, but a book by Daniel Pink called “A Whole New Mind,” published in 2005, helped frame the public discussion. Fast forward to May 2010, when IBM conducted a research study of 1,500 CEOs in 60 countries and 33 industries.What Pink predicted, and what IBM heard loudly and clearly from CEOs, was that the most important skill for future business success was creativity. The Information Age is giving way to the “Conceptual Age,” as Pink put it, where creative thinking skills will be more essential than critical thinking skills. CEOs, facing ever-increasing complexity in the world around them, ranked the need for creativity ahead of even vision.

That’s a problem. Our institutions, from local elementary schools to our largest corporations, to the near exclusion of everything else, teach linear and rational problem-solving techniques.

But it’s also an opportunity, to gain competitive advantage. Anyone can learn creative problem solving skills, and given our institutional bias, even a little improvement represents significant leverage.

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