02/27/2013 05:50 EST | Updated 04/29/2013 05:12 EDT

How Creativity Can Benefit You in Business

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Indian artists prepare paints to create wall paintings during the 'Design The Change' wall art event in New Delhi on February 24, 2013. The activity brought together more than 500 professional and budding artists on the same platform to create the wall art. Artists used their imagination and creativity to give justice to the theme and depicted the essence of transformation needed for the betterment of society. AFP PHOTO/SAJJAD HUSSAIN (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

One of the things I enjoy about my day job is the opportunity to help evolve and grow an organization. Because of this, I consume a great deal of content about management, leadership, and creativity (heck, I even took a MOOC from Yale about creativity). I do this out of interest, yes, but also because I want to be able to play a role in the transformation of my workplace.

It seems a bit bizarre to read and learn about things such as creativity. Most of us grow up on the belief that we're either creative or not. The number of times I've had colleagues tell me that they "just don't think that way" is shockingly high. But in actuality, creativity is a learned skill. One cannot just read about creative methods and expect to suddenly be creative. Rather, they must take risks, try techniques, and exercise their creative muscles.

As technology evolves, and subsequently our work, we're finding that different skills sets are needed for success. One of these skills is, in fact, creativity. We need to be able to find solutions for our wicked problems, plain and simple. So, as adults, if we can't remember how to be creative, we must practice.

But we must also encourage our youth to be creative.

Recently, my 6th and 7th grade teacher passed away. In reflecting upon what I learned from him, I realized that my creativity and my nonsensical, crazy ideas stem from those formative years. He was one of those rare teachers who "got it", who understood the value of subjects other than science and math, and who understood that subjects like math and science aren't mutually exclusive when compared to the arts and social sciences.

Lessons and projects typically involved multi-medium presentations, and techniques such as design-thinking and chindogu (such as a project about aliens invading Ancient Egypt). No problem was too big, no solution too risky.

This was the status quo.

It's something I continue to strive for every day in my personal and professional lives. It's no wonder that I truly believe that any obstacle can be overcome. This type of thinking (and techniques) need to become more widespread, to become the status quo. We must continue to encourage our youth to approach problems in this manner, but we must also encourage our workforce (including ourselves) to do the same. It will take work, hard work. But it's possible and the results will be worth it (there goes that blue sky thinking again). There is a creative and coherent way to tell every story and solve every problem, no matter how wicked.

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