In the not-too-distant future, creatives will rule the world.
I’m not just saying this because I consider myself a creative. The interconnected systems we use to function in business and society, whether in communication, transportation, design, finance, and more, are increasing in complexity, and so are the types of issues and challenges that arise from these systems.
The value of approaching these challenges in a purely linear fashion or by rote is becoming less and less relevant. As fast-paced innovation surges to amazing new heights and procedural thinking wanes, the demand for creative thinking grows exponentially. What we find we need more of is a playful, creative, forward-thinking approach to business and technology. More than any other time in human history, the most effective work is being done by right-brainers and out-of-the-box thinkers.
Video gaming provides us with a great example of how “playful” thinking achieves results.
In the game SimCity, we’re given a basic understanding of how a city functions and then by using general notions around cause and effect, we play through various scenarios in real time to gain specific outcomes. We’re thinking on our feet, responding spontaneously and often creatively to a fast-shifting reality. Largely unscripted, we rely on our ingenuity, our ability to think fast, and our sense of the big picture. In other words, we use right-brain thinking.
This nimble approach to conceptualizing challenges and creating new paradigms to solve them is what right-brainers do best, and with inspired innovation creatively connecting the dots of our modern world, we’d say the time of the right-brainer has come.
To be ready to take on leadership roles, many creatives must develop managerial and leadership skills they’ve never had to learn. That is the biggest challenge ahead: training two generations of creatives to take over leadership from the more conventional leaders of today. If you’re a right-brainer this is the perfect time to shore up your business skills so that you feel comfortable managing and leading. Only then will the world be able to benefit from your exceptional and inspired right-brained genius.
Here are the eight reasons why creatives will rule the world:
It is a fact of modern life. It rules our daily lives. Left-brainers are having more difficulty dealing with the amount of complexity they face in navigating the systems humans have put in place and are giving right-brainers more opportunities to lead. Why? Right-brainers and creatives can handle complexity, are comfortable with a higher level of ambiguity, and are willing to take more “risks” than left-brainers. We are big-picture thinkers who can simultaneously focus on the tiniest details.
Right-brainers naturally make connections between disparate ideas to create new and innovative solutions. Since we don’t have our noses in a rule book, we’re able to think on a meta level, drawing parallels that others don’t see. The less creative thinker may see our process as risky because they’re not wired to see the connections that right-brainers see.
Right-brainers are motivated by understanding. We naturally focus on the “why” of any particular issue and our problem-solving approach reflects a deeper comprehension of the situation at hand. Many left-brainers call themselves problem solvers, and “business” purports to have a dedicated, practical focus on solving problems. However, the conventional, left-brained approach to solving problems often miss-fires, in that it fails to define problems accurately and likewise doesn’t always fundamentally understand why a problem needs solving to begin with. Both of these steps are critical to conceiving effective solutions.
Since right-brainers are not solely relying on precedent, we’re not particularly attached to the status quo or current trends. We synthesize information quickly and thrive on learning, so we’re eager to adapt our creative process to new modes of building solutions.
Conventional business models often have a hard time creating value and too often rely on value extraction. When a business cuts corners to raise productivity, or depletes natural resources to grow shareholder value, that’s not creating value, that’s just moving it around–in some cases stealing it–which lowers the potential for sustainability. Nothing is created in these cases because left-brain business doesn’t consistently support the human values like enthusiasm and curiosity that underpin creative output. With business sustainability becoming increasingly challenging, there is more demand than ever for a shift in our business values toward creativity.
Storytelling is paramount in making connections with people and generating enthusiasm for creative innovation. In sharing our stories, we generate the empathy and collaborative commitment that will give our teams enduring determination to tackle new challenges. Right-brainers are not afraid to capitalize on the fact that we as humans value meaning over data.
Right-brainers take risks. The rules we have followed for too long are starting to break down. We love a challenge, and being forward-thinking means we actually have a limitless pool of solutions to try out. We’re also not afraid to make mistakes. Often the best innovation can emerge from happy accidents.
Design thinking, or combining empathy, creativity, and rationality in brainstorming the design process is an ideal way for right-brainers to work. More and more companies are coming to value the ethos of design thinking, taking people’s needs into account and using them to determine the meaning of good design.
Our modern world is a puzzle and the pieces that make up the business landscape are becoming clear. Right-brained creatives are stepping up to provide invaluable innovation where conventional models are no longer able to. In order for right-brainers to succeed, however, we must complete the puzzle with its last piece, the business skills piece. The time is ripe for creatives to lead and manage. If you’re a right-brainer wanting to make your mark in this world, whether it’s in business, tech, or anywhere really, then make this last piece of the puzzle your priority, so you can effectively contribute and thrive. Go get ‘em right-brainers–the world needs you!
—Michael O. “Coop” Cooper is the founder of Innovators and Influencers. For the past 15 years, he has worked with creative professionals and right-brain entrepreneurs who are shaping and changing the world we live in.