Creativity seems to be among the most desirable skills in today’s candidate market. And it’s easy to see why. Creative employees are innovative and daring, they think outside the box and are, as such, some of the best problem solvers out there, sometimes even finding solutions for issues that have yet to come along.
However, does that mean that there is no room in tomorrow’s workplace for employees who lack creativity? Definitely not. Beggars can’t be chooser in this candidate crisis, so what we actually need to do is develop a creative culture in our organisations, one that leads people towards developing their own creativity, whether they were naturally creative or quite the opposite. And that is what Fredrik Härén, expert on creativity and speaker at LEAP, will talk to you about on February 27th.
Here’s what Fredrik has to say about creativity:
For the last 20+ years you have studied human creativity all over the world. What differences and similarities have you discovered in terms of cultures?
My biggest insight is that there are so many DIFFERENT approaches to creativity in the world. If people become more curious about learning OTHER types of creativity than their own, then our creative potential would explode.
You are a Swedish living in Singapore. In what ways has this change of scenery influenced you?
In so many ways!
Asia gives you so much energy.
A better understanding of where the center of gravity of the world is
Better understanding of how people around the world look at the world.
What important lessons have you learned from the leaders in Sweden?
Sweden is so much about consensus. Consensus actually literally means “to feel together” – the idea of consensus is not just “a general agreement” as is the meaning of the word, but from a deeper perspective it actually means MORE than that. The idea that everyone is involved in the decision process to come to an agreement means that everyone FEELS that they have been involved, which creates a stronger bond within the group.
Which are the most important lessons you have learned as a global keynote speaker?
That we are all the same! When I was in North Korea, I asked my guide “tell me something that you have found out about North Koreans that I will not understand in a few days as a visitor (the guide had been there more than 5 times) and he said: “They are just like us. 80% want a good life for themselves and their families and their communities, and 20% are jerks. And it is the same in all countries.” And then he added: “The only difference is that in some countries the jerks are in charge.”
Has anyone from the audience who spoke to you ever made an impact?
I meet inspiring people almost on a daily basis! Just at the very last meeting I spoke at, I talked with the former central banker of Malaysia for 16 years, the 8-time world champion in Squash, a eco-friendly-rice farmer from Thailand, an aikido from Indonesia etc. The world is FULL of inspiring people and many of them tend to go to conferences, either as speakers or audience members.
What are the three most important characteristics that companies should look for in their future leaders?
Creativity – of course. It is, I truly think, the most valuable skill you can have. It is the shortcut to success.
Human Connections – We are in many ways losing the ability to connect with strangers and it is such a valuable skill.
Idea Perception – which is the ability to see and understand change. (in a world of constant change being able to UNDERSTAND change and know how to adapt to it is becoming crucial.)
What are the biggest threats for leaders nowadays? Should automation be among them?
The biggest threat is that so many companies and people are invested in the past. Automation is not a threat to leaders. It is an opportunity.
Why do you think creativity is so important in business these days?
It has always been important. But it has never been easier to make an idea happen, both finding money for an idea, launching it and getting it global.
What kills creativity?
Of course fear. But I think that the thing that really kills it is too many rules, red tape and bureaucracy.
What would you recommend managers do to help develop creativity?
Even if it is true that people do not think that companies are not doing enough if you ask people: “Do you think YOU are doing enough to develop your own creativity?” almost no one says “yes”. So my suggestion is that managers/companies, instead of trying decide how to develop the staff’s creativity, encourage their teams to come up with their OWN things, their own way to develop their creativity.
Some people need to be alone, some people need to be in groups, some people need to be in nature, some people need to be in the hustle and bustle of the city. So it would help a lot if companies helped people to fully understand their OWN creative process – i.e. when and how they all individually are the most creative.
Your flagship CSR project is “Ideas Island” (www.ideasisland.com), a private island where you let creative people from around the world stay – for free – to develop a creative project. How did you come up with this idea?
I used to own an island in the Philippines but we were only there for about 1 month per year, so I was thinking “what else could I do with this island?” The easy answer would have been to “rent it out”, but I did not want to stay in a place that was run as a resort for 11 months every year, so I felt it would be much nicer to lend it out to other creative people so they could also experience the amazing feeling of being by yourself on an island. That island was later hit by a storm and the houses on the island were ruined, so I decided to buy an island in Sweden, which is safer from natural storms.
I personally live on ANOTHER island in Sweden for 2 months every summer and I bought the other island so that other people could get a sense of what I have every summer.
Meet Fredrik Härén at LEAP, on February 27th 2020, and find out what other insights on creativity he has to share! We promise you’ll go back to your company the next day with many great applicable ideas. Book your tickets now! → Buy LEAP tickets