• 04.23.12

The Creativity Gap: Why You And Your Company Are Falling Short

More and more people believe creativity is key to economic growth. But most workplaces, apparently, don’t let employees flex their creative muscles. So says a new study that reflects a gap between creative ideals and reality.

At Fast Company, we believe that creativity is not just the backbone of innovation–it also just makes going to work every day that much more fun. Which is why the results of a new study from Adobe are, shall we say, a bit troubling.


The study, called “State of Create,” found that eight in 10 people believe that creativity is critical to economic growth. But it also found that only one in four people feel like they are living up to their own creative potential. And 75% of respondents said they feel like their employers put more pressure on them to be productive than to be creative.

Click to zoom.

The study surveyed 5,000 adults in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and Japan. Respondents said that they spent only a quarter of their time at work creating and feel that more than 40% of their ability to create remains untapped.

Among the study’s other findings were the belief that Japan is actually the most creative country in the world (except among Americans who thought the U.S. was the most creative). The respondents also said Tokyo is the most creative city, with New York in second place.

Reflecting their national culture, perhaps, Americans were most worried about the fact that they were not living up to their creative potential, while Germans, also perhaps in line with their national culture, were the least perturbed.

About the author

E.B. Boyd (@ebboyd) has holed up in conference rooms with pioneers in Silicon Valley and hunkered down in bunkers with soldiers in Afghanistan.