About creativity

According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “Future of Jobs” it is predicted that by 2025, the world will see a loss of 85 million jobs within the traditional industries and service sector. But it also predicts the creation of 133 million jobs thanks to the digital revolution. It does not require much imagination to understand that this will need to be followed by a significant reconstruction of existing skills and competencies. WEF has analyzed and tried to predict the need of the future workplace. Among the most significant skills are: “Analytical thinking and innovation, Creativity, originality and initiative, Technology design and programming, Critical thinking!
In this resource, we create a common understanding of creativity and provide the basic knowledge of what is necessary to complete e-learning courses.
This OER provides the knowledge base, i.e. a summary of the most important knowledge and general information about What is creativity, why creativity is important and more and more important for companies and in the individual life also, “what it takes to be creative”, as well as provide a comprehensive overview of possible ways to develop creativity, and shows some tool and examples related to the previous.

How to understand creativity?

What is creativity

When can we say that something is creative?

It is difficult and also impossible, to prove one common definition for creativity. Like in many things, people in different cultures have different imaginations when they hear the word. In the psychological literature, we can find more than 60 different definitions of creativity. That’s why, instead of trying to explain the meaning of creativity in one single sentence, we’ve collected below some examples of how people define the word, CREATIVITY

  • ‘Creativity, it has been said, consists largely of re-arranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know.’ (George Keller)
  • ‘Creativity is the execution of an idea which has both originality and value.’ (Nick Skillicorn)
  • ‘Creativity has been understood as the “ability to produce work that is both novel and appropriate’ (Sternberg & Lubart)
  • ‘Creativity the ability to see possibilities that others haven’t noticed’ (Anna Craft)
  • ‘The critical process involved in the generation of new ideas.’ (Giselle B. Esquivel)

The Four C Model of creativity gives us a good outlook to understand what can be called ‘creative’ and shows the types/levels of creativity:

Little-c creativity: Less prominent creative activities from everyday life, like finding efficient ways to pack for a trip or combining articles of clothing into a brand-new outfit.

Mini-c Creativity: New and personally meaningful interpretation, ideas and insights. This type of creativity can be observed most easily within education. A good example of that is when a child learns how to draw 3-D shapes in his art class and uses the skill to create drawings of buildings in new ways. 

Pro-c Creativity: We can find here those who are professional creators but not eminent creators (“household names”), who are successful, but have not reached a level of prominence that would lead to immortality. For example, researchers who have numerous papers published and are well versed in their field of study, but without the eminence that would bring them to immortality.

Big-C creativity: It describes eminent creativity. Creators here usually spend at least ten years of study to reach the level of professionalization that is usually necessary for influential work or for “world-changing” discoveries.

Why is it necessary to be creative? The role of creativity in life

In our rapidly changing and challenging world there is a bigger and bigger need to represent creativity and emotion. Compared to the left-directed thinking – which focuses to represent logical and analytical thoughts – this right-directed thinking works in different areas of the brain and requires different skills. Creativity is needed in more and more areas of business, but also for a meaningful private life. 

Creativity for the individual: By promoting creativity, children get the opportunity to discover themselves, their talent and real interest. By doing a creative activity, it gives us freedom and helps us to cross the borders to create new things or things in a new way.

Creativity for the organisations: In the life of organisations, creativity is important to adapt to changing circumstances and needs, to develop new and more competitive products and services, and to successfully sell them in the market. It helps to rationale the processes and make a more dynamic and innovative business. Creativity helps to find and express uniqueness, what also helps to be successful in the market.

Read more here:

Valuable Creativity in Companies: Lesson 2

Creativity for our society: Creativity has a significant impact on our society also. Creativity is crucial for countries under transformation from industrial to knowledge economies what is essential now to solve the pressing social, economic, and environmental problems.

Companies and organisations have to revitalise themselves and adapt to the rapidly changing environments; in our private life, creativity is needed to deal with challenging life situations, even small annoyances or to live meaningfully, but also can be a tool to solve our joint global and social problems. Creativity is a vital force that has to be stimulated, nurtured and motivated. Creativity is an essential element of the innovation process, so we have to give it the freedom to express itself in its own way even though sometimes our societies intellectual paradigms still do not recognize it as important or productive.

1. Figure: Source: State of create: 2016 – New survey links being creative to stronger personal and professional success

Can creativity be developed?


At first, creative people, and therefore creativity, was generally thought to be some kind of privileged innate ability. This perception began to change only in the 1950s, when Guilford – an American psychologist – started to research in this field. This psychologist, who had researched the personality traits of creative individuals started to study what it takes to be creative. At that time, the following definition was born, giving hope that creativity can be developed.

“Creativity is the capacity to create, a creative capacity in which the organization of different capacities allows isolated experiences to be linked, interpreted in new ways and in a new form.”

So, your creativity is determined more by your upbringing, your environment and your mindset than by your innate genetics.

Just as there are several ‘creativity definitions’, there are also several concepts of what is needed to be creative. According to Sternberg and Lubart (1999), creativity requires six elements: intellectual abilities, knowledge, specific styles of thinking, personality and motivation.
Teresa Amabile (1998) further narrowed down the ingredients needed for creativity. She sees motivation as one of the three components of creativity, the other two being expertise and creative thinking skills (To read more: Innovation and Creativity in Education and Training in the EU Member States.pdf p. 12.) She highlighted the role of motivation, especially the intrinsic motivation, what is about passion and interest, an internal desire to do something.

Many of the above ingredients can be increased and developed, so the creativity of the individual also.

Creativity is strongly influenced by and connected to the cultural domain or environment:

  • the concept of creativity is context-dependent and culturally shaped;
  • and idea can only be judged to be creative against a background of previous practices;
  • the environment can attract creative people and also kindle or kill creative performances.

Creativity in business

This has always been the case, but today it is even more true that innovation is essential to the long-term success of business. Innovation and creativity go hand in hand. Creativity is an infinite source of innovation; innovation is the application and implementation of creativity.

Pathways to higher creativity

As we have written before, the main ingredients of creativity are motivation, expertise, creative thinking.

As these elements, creativity also can be encouraged through inspiration and provocation, and can be developed and promoted through creativity methods. What can we do to boost individual creativity?

Developing the right mindset

There are only some things that can be said about creativity surely: creative people think differently from others. Instead of the well-trodden path of logic, they “look outside the box”, they follow some specific way of thought. Edward de Bono – an indispensable figure in creativity – calls it lateral thinking. In our everyday life, we try to find a reassuring answer to the problems by building up our solution step by step, separating wrong from right and proving our answers. This is a closed thought process – a vertical (logical) way of thinking. To boost lateral thinking, we can use provocation, random influence, stimulation to get an unexpected solution. For example, we can provocate the brain with false statements, and with that, open the way for totally novel association.

Use creative support tools, PLAY games

As more and more people recognize the importance of creativity, there are more and more tips and tools for developing individual thinking skills and creative ability. We can find computer-based support tools, what developed to break fix ideas and stimulate imagination. As you browse the internet, you can find more and more to-do lists to get you out of your usual mindset, as well as fun games for adults, including board games (like Dixit, Imagine, etc.).

Specifically for workplace environments, the Innovation Diamonds board game is recommended to help colleagues work on a specific corporate innovation goal while challenging their own creativity, boost lateral thinking and also a joyful way of teambuilding. (For more information: contact us)

Learn from art

Listening skills and storytelling, communication and presentation skills and such artistic capabilities and skills can be taught by the artist. It can also increase to make better cooperation and harmony between colleagues with team building activities facilitated by artists, to get ensemble and rehearsal techniques, as these are used by musicians and actors. Arts offers a broad, tangible approach to management development and team building by providing alternative ways of thinking, seeing, feeling, doing and being. Expanded capacity for empathy, pleasure and captivation can bring intrinsic value to the individual but it also reaches out to the community. “Arts-based learning is intended to develop ‘artful’ ways of working.” (Cheryl Kerr, Cathryn Lloyd, 2008)

(Read more: Lotte Darsø’: Artful Creation: Learning-Tales of Arts-in-Business)

Read more here:

Valuable Creativity in Companies: Lesson 4

Build an environment that encourage creativity

It is not enough to use the existing individual creativity and existing skills of employees to boost the innovational process, we have to help our colleagues to develop, flourish their skills and harness it properly, by

  • creating the appropriate organisational culture
  • building the right teams
  • creating a creative space/space that supports innovation.

The characteristics of a creative organizational culture

Recognizing the creative human spirit within organizations is fundamental to building a culture of creative innovation, for this, we have to take care of the following:


Positive attitude toward risk through diversified “portfolio” and back promising ideas with small budgets and look for ways to test them with the least input of resources


Exposure to different and even contrasting stimuli – it increases the possibility to create synthesis what have been never conceived before


Providing enough autonomy and freedom to the employees to express their creativity


Tolerance what allow to feel brave, make mistakes and confidence to present new ideas


Open, trustful relations and dynamic interactions among creative individuals but also among different groups


Access to and exchange of information – free flow of information


Access to sources of knowledge – developed knowledge management system, making community of interest groups


Access to equipment and material guaranteed without discrimination


A system to reward creativity

Increase the employee’s intrinsic motivation (with like recognition, feedback, giving more freedom, pursue exciting ideas) Give external incentives and awards

The creative group

Individuals engage in more in creative processes if they got creative support from their group. There are many techniques to help bring different ideas and visions to the surface that can be used in group work. Such as brainstorming where rules or norms that restrain evaluation of ideas being generated would allow members to build off of others’ ideas and would result in a greater number of novel ideas being generated.

Diversification is a factor that, – used well, – increases the creativity of the group. “Innovation takes place when different ideas, perceptions, and ways of processing and judging information collide. That, in turn, often requires collaboration among various players who see the world inherently different ways.” (Dorothy Leonard and Susaan Straus: Putting Your Company’s Whole Brain to Work)

A creative workplace

Creativity embodied in physical space. Such space enables the free flow of sensory experiences like different sounds, silence, the vision or touch of different materials, but it also can be posture (what for example can allow the body to rest). The circumstances trigger feelings and emotions, which trigger thoughts.

The physical space of the work is an arena for the flow of information and connectivity, determining how people access tools and knowledge and even influencing how they feel themselves. This is why it is important to create spaces in the workplace that support the different steps of the creative process.

Read more here:

Valuable Creativity in Companies: Lesson 5

Creativity – How to get started

Creativity at the workplace

Creativity takes place every day at the workplace! New ideas are found as an answer to solve short- and long-term challenges! New ways to approach the market and/or new ideas to bring our products to market pops up everyday. Creativity has always been a driver on how companies try to improve their human capacity. In most cases creativity just happens and not as a systematic way of improving the creative process. It pops up spontaneously. Another significant characteristic of creativity in companies is that it is often used as special human resource events as a pathway to improve the human capacities of the staff but carried out outside or away from the daily work routines and production or services delivered by the company.

This chapter, “Creativity – How to get started”, will broaden the understanding of how you as company can make use of creativity methods; What benefit could come from the involvement of artists and creative externals into the daily life of the company. Let methods of creativity and practices bring a stronger focus on how the company products, services and market can be further developed.

The first step is to be open for the involvement of the broader staff and management into the creative process to give them an opportunity to contribute to the main issues like…

  • product development
  • organisational development
  • market development
  • customer care and services

The company staff contain a wide variety of experience and knowledge about the company products. This experience can be used as a source to better and more sustainable development of the company and thereby also to secure workplaces by the involvement of creative processes and involvement of both staff and management.

Company managers/owners play a crucial role to ensure and confirm that we are now in a process where it is allowed, yes even expected that the staff freely can break normal patterns and use their imagination (if possible). It is also the management, who can emphasize that a creativity process is not just a game, but will play a crucial role in the future development of the company! It is a proven experience (link: Forrester article: Link: I-CREATE_Final_Handbook_EN_851(1).pdf) that if managers embrace and encourage innovation and creativity in the workplace, it is possible to…:

  • Encouraging employees to challenge the status quo;
  • Create an open attitude towards risk taking;
  • Be able to use mistakes as learning opportunities;
  • Use and share knowledge and information in new ways;
  • Focus on continuous learning about creativity and how to boost it;
  • Conduct fair and informative evaluations on e.g. creativity and innovation.

Methods to support creativity

The choice of methods is depending on the company’s challenges, work processes, respective products and services. It is also important to identify areas where creative solutions are most urgently needed, and also where the creativity process can be introduced in a tangible and practical manner, so it is easy to motivate and get relevant employees on board. The point of departure is to select the right challenge that focus attention to burning questions or  problems the company facing with, and where the use of creativity methods and involvement of artists can bring an added value and novel solution. 

See some examples here:

Valuable Creativity in Companies: Lesson 4  Chapter 4

Product- and service-development

Company products or services need constantly to be upgraded and developed. Product development is an innovative and creative process to ensure renewal of products and services to make them relevant and attractive for the market. It combines design and user-driven innovation to collect the relevant aspects of the product on the market, but also the aspects of the staff who are close to the production process e.g in terms of improving the functionality or aesthetics of the product.


Creativity to ensure a highly effective production and outcome of the human resource input; use of technology and ways to make the production process easier or leaner. Creativity are here closely linked to the employee-driven innovation, and how staff can be involved in finding creative solutions to problems and challenges that can be an obstacle to further productivity and competitiveness in the long run.


Creativity in finding ways how a product or a service can be measured and assessed in comparison with other products and to secure customers value added of using the product or service. Creativity can used be to find new ways to collect and analyse data and experience from the market on how customers assess and use the product. These information from the market can act as important input to the product and service development

Image and market

Creativity in communication of the company, and how to bring products and services into a favourable position on the market and in the community at large.


Creativity can be a way to improve how the company in a smart way can become more sustainable and environmental protective in its production; optimisation of resources; eco-friendliness and healthy work environment can be the areas where a creativity process can find new solutions and ways of working. The creativity can also focus on how e.g. waste or used products from the company production can be a possibility to introduce new products, or established products prepared in e.g. recycled design.

In general, a company’s creative way and ambitions will help also to strengthen its network and access to potential cooperation partners of public and private nature. The creativity side is to find genuine opportunities to partner with organisations, which can support the credibility of the company

Perspectives on the pathway of creativity into companies

Needs and Challenges Who (in the company) Creativity focus Sources of methods
Re(new) Products & Services Product responsible and selected staff at all levels New/Renewed products and services Employee driven innovation
Improve Productivity All / HR Perceptions of processes – how do we work together and improve work satisfaction Employee driven innovation involving artist
Secure Quality All Finding new ways to involve customers into the assessment of our products Artist as a critical friend
Strengthen Image and Market Commercial team New formats of communication and how the marked receives our messages Use of external artist
Sustainability All Prepare new ways of using waste and other forms of left over – how to become environmental friendly Use of local community and involvement of local artist

Methods can be used for the above-mentioned needs and challenges of the company. The first step of the company responsible managers is therefore to decide on

  • Which actual need/challenge is the most important for the company to involve staff into and,
  • Where can the creativity process offer a relevant process into the company development and as a tool to solve the actual challenge in this field.

Bringing artists and art competences on board the company (methods)

The chapter will focus on some of the most important preparations and entrances for the artist to work directly with companies and within a work-place setting. Especially in the cases where the artist only has his/her intuitive way of working with creativity, which often are difficult to communicate to people without deeper knowledge or experience with creativity.

Managers have discovered that it makes a lot of sense to use and to involve artistic interventions: bringing in people, practices, and products from the arts to help address the challenges of their organization. A number of development programs, where artist have been involved in company development at large have provided evidence on how important art can be to widen the understanding of the company culture and its operational products and services. Examples from the evaluation is……

  • Business can apply art in an instrumental way as tool for team building, creative communication training, leadership development, problem solving and innovation processes. But arts can also be the major mediator and facilitator of a strategic process of transformation.
  • Learning and competency development can be strengthened through the work with artful creation such as…:
    • developing key competencies and soft skills: improving reading and writing skills, communication and presentation skills, storytelling skills, feedback techniques, cooperation skills, skills to handle certain situations by acting and role simulations
    • Sharpening attention and vigilance, developing listening skills and empathy, new competences for expression, thought provocation and idea-generation.
  • Although employees are often initially sceptical about engaging with an artist at work, the artist often succeeds in engaging them. By the end of an intervention, people almost always report that the experience was positive, even if it sometimes entailed going through difficult phases of irritation and frustration. (Surveys in the Basque country found that 100% of managers, employees and artists who have participated would recommend such a project to their peers.)
  • The effects can be found on the individual, group and organisational level, and in fact these levels tend to be interconnected. It has been observed that organizational impacts are usually spill‐over effects from benefits that individuals and groups have gained from an experience with an artistic intervention.
  • There is evidence that artistic interventions can contribute to Strategic and Operational factors as productivity, efficiency, recruitment and reputation, but this is the area that is mentioned least frequently in the research‐based publications.
  • Apparently it is not necessarily what the organisation members consider as the most remarkable sphere of impact. Companies who have worked with artistic interventions have sought to document such direct impacts. Instead, managers and employees seem to care more about how artistic interventions impact the factors that underpin the potentials for innovation.
  • When people discover new ways of seeing and doing things in an artistic intervention, it is an energizing experience that activates the will to act and engage in change. Working collaboratively, rather than simply collectively, is an additional source of potential strength.
  • The power of artistic interventions in organizations resides in the opening of spaces of possibility, which we call “interspaces”. In these interspaces staff experience new ways of seeing, thinking, and doing things that add value for them personally.
  • Artistic interventions are by definition “pattern breaking” activities compared to the normal working day. The responsibility for deriving the benefits for the organization and sustaining the effects lies with managers and the employees themselves – unless facilitators are involved also.
  • Consideration when planning bringing arts in business: clear purpose and objectives, short -term and long term perspectives, timing in relation to the business processes, selection of the right artists, type and potential of an artist-business relationship, preparation, start in small and build processes using pilot experience.

Examples where artist makes a difference

Employee driven innovation supported by art

A very important perspective of employee-driven innovation is that the learning process involving artist from all types of art can produce pattern-breaking innovation. In this production of innovation, adaptive and innovative learning are prominent processes, which will challenge how both management and staff is involved and able to contribute to the creative process. Finally open creative processes easily will generate questions and proposals will (and shall) challenge how the company at large look at themselves.

Improving communication by using art

All companies are depending on extensive communication with its community and market.  Communication to express the benefit of using the company products and its useability. To be able to reach out in both a catching and precise way companies can involve artists to be able to reach out also through various channels of both analog and virtual nature. Writers and illustrators can support this process.  In this respect the involvement of artist (writer/illustrators are close to the marketing function of the company;

Method; Storytelling as Art:  “Your company stories create conversations about you and your products when you aren’t there. They are the best source of interesting tidbits your buyers, supporters, journalists, and others use to describe your work in the most effective form of advertising ever created, which is marketing art by word-of-mouth”.

Improving teamwork with art

Teamwork and the improvement of team efficience is a constant challenge of most companies. Teamwork is based on narrow relations and issues like personal conflicts, lack of communication and problems in understanding and sharing knowledge are often conflicts that challenge the outcome of teams. Actors can be used to express how these conflicts influence the members of team and how it creates misunderstandings, The involvement of actors in such processes often gives the opportunity for the members of the team to watch themselves from outside and provide a learning about how the interaction within a team can be improved. In this respect the involvement of artist (actors) are closely linked to the HR processes in the company.

Method, Forum theatre/ Improvisational theatre is a form of theater in which actors use improvisational acting techniques to perform spontaneously. Many improvisational techniques are taught in standard drama classes. The basic skills of listening, clarity, confidence, and performing instinctively and spontaneously are considered important skills for actors to develop and to use in case of company in-service training etc.

The challenge of using artist as an external, creative support to strengthen the creative mind set of company, depends strongly on how the artist is accepted as a person with a competence that can contribute to often rather difficult problems or challenges. The first step of this process is for the management to provide justification for this involvement and to give reliable arguments of the need of such external help and support and what value it can bring.

Finding the right way to involve the artist… .’maintain the provocation!:

It is important that the artist appear in the company/organisation with all the creative competences he/she has available, and not as a consultant. The creativity and pattern-breaking ways of working, which are the important asset in bringing artist into the company setting shall remain its quality as a being a provocation towards the existing ways of working or designing products in the company. It is the important capability and contribution of the artist role as an external support to the company.

There are different roles that external person can do to play a clear and well-defined role into the workplace:

The artist as an event-maker and provider of unusual processes to provoke creativity

This will offer the opportunity for the staff to work with creative processes which can show new sides of themselves and also give a very tangible understanding of how a creative process is organized:

The artist as a mentor on the creative processes

The artist shall not or cannot be a consultant or an advisor. It is important for the artist to maintain his contribution as pattern breaking and enforce the staff to interpret his messages and ideas. As a mentor to be a person to reflect on how a certain tasks can be improved purely with the eyes of creativity. Or mentor how the company and its products is experienced from the position of creativity!

The artist as a critical friend on how creativity is practiced and performed in the workplace

Here the artist will play an even more provocative role. Challenge what the involved staff take for granted in e.g. a design of a product. The artist can also take the role of the upcoming users and how they perceive things. The provocative side can also be to open the mind of the company and staff on how they are perceived and can be perceived by the community. It will help the staff/employees to reconsider given frames or given perceptions.

The artist as a co-creator of products, services or company processes

The most extensive involvement and role of the artist into the creative process of the company is without doubt when the artist is a co-creator on product development or when the company formulate new communication and marked strategies. In this case the artist will actively be involved in actual implementation of the core activities in the company. And he will be involved preferable in full process of this and not only as an external viewer or assessor of the “originality or quality of creative process” in the company.

The step-by-step involvement of artist

The “on-boarding” of artistic and creative competences to match the company’s objectives and approach require a step-by-step approach as it is two very different ways of thinking that have to work together: The COMPANY CULTURE, which is almost always instrumental, product- and profit-driven in opposition to the ART CULTURE which seems to treat product ideas as possibilities and deliberately chooses to take the tours. One of the most common truths about artistic working methods is that you don’t know where you are going, in at least not exactly, and that this encourages creative solutions and leaves room for useful surprises to develop. “Don’t think about it too much. Just paint.” says the artist, who encourages the participants (staff and managers) to break with their notions of what a painting is.

Evidence from a large company-art program initiated to improve cooperation between companies (20) and artists (20), “NEW X – Alliances for Innovation” has explored how companies and artist most successfully create such a partnership, and what steps need to be taken to create a fruitful cooperation:

5 important steps for successful cooperation between artist and company:

Step 1:

Formulation of the challenge

The experience among 20 companies taking part in the program was that the most successful were those who were able to define a practical outcome of the cooperation and the joint challenge. This could e.g. be in terms of an exhibition; a prototype; a video; a text or a play. Saying nothing about the process or the actual content of the creativity – but framing it with a joint understanding of what should come out of the challenge.

The experience was the importance of finding artist who already had some background in working in relations and with pedagogical outlook. It was also important to involve artists with given reputation and finally also to match the type of art compared to the challenge of the company and their actual need for creative input. E.g. artists from writing or digital art had more to give if the challenge was communication.

Step 2:

Matchmaking of artistic and creative skills to the company context

The experience was the importance of finding artist who already had some background in working in relations and with pedagogical outlook. It was also important to involve artists with given reputation and finally also to match the type of art compared to the challenge of the company and their actual need for creative input. E.g. artists from writing or digital art had more to give if the challenge was communication.

Step 3:

Defining the challenge/working method for artist and company respectively

The most successful partnerships were those who were able to find a joint environment for the cooperation. The most important is to dedicate space and room where artists and company members can work together jointly and find a common ground for the work process. Creativity in most cases is a very tangible process where e.g. visualization is important as mean to interpret more complex ideas and feelings. The speed of work and how to progress the task according to time consume was one of the most challenging topics in the cooperation as there are very diverse understanding of time consume between artists and company staff.

The most difficult part of the cooperation is how the company is represented in the joint work between artist and staff. Meaning “how it is possible to clearly identify the company in the artwork expressed as values or mission. The clearer the company is presented in the joint art-product, the stronger it will also reach out to staff or managers, who were not involved. Even reach out to customers or partnerships will be able to identify the company from new angles.

Step 4:

Contextualization of the artist-company intervention

The most difficult part of the cooperation is how the company is represented in the joint work between artist and staff. Meaning “how it is possible to clearly identify the company in the artwork expressed as values or mission. The clearer the company is presented in the joint art-product, the stronger it will also reach out to staff or managers, who were not involved. Even reach out to customers or partnerships will be able to identify the company from new angles.

Step 5:

Choice/adaptation of the style of intervention” (i.e. background vs. foreground in relation to the artistic process)

Finally, it plays an important role how the art-work as result of the joint cooperation is presented. Is the art-work an intermediate process (like a prototype) to be present the actual product which can be used by the company on the marked – or is it product itself which can be celebrated and presented to the public. It is important to agree on the conditions for this in order not to make confusions and disappointments. The artist will need to know that his contribution is only an instrument for a better and more creative product, which the company can on with. The more public and official the artwork is and is celebrated, the more important will also be the conditions and the agreements on property rights etc.

Please see the video below on How to involve artists in company development? In this video, you can watch excerpts from our conversation with Eva Sommer Hansen – an experienced Program-manager on Art and Business –on the topic

How to make creativity valuable –
The impact of Creativity


Many managers view creativity as intangible or restricted to department like graphic design etc. and do not consider it something they have to specifically focus on in their managerial agenda. However research shows, that there is a significant correlation in between the performance of the company and the conscious nurturing of creative company culture. As we already pointed out, supporting creativity and application of creative methods can lead to strengthened ability to develop new products, better understanding of customers and exploitation their knowledge and experiences, improved quality and functionality of products and services, more efficient and cost-effective work processes. But in a longer perspective, evidence shows that strong leadership commitment towards building a creative organization can be harvested in multiple ways in business results too. Concluded from a survey completed by more than 300 decision makers of larger companies from all over the world, the common features of creative approaches and practices were identified. It was found, that creative companies, those companies who expressively intended to foster creativity:

  • typically set goals in terms of creative outcomes,
  • collaborate with customers to achieve them,
  • give high priority to funding new ideas,
  • maintain conscious leadership approach to encourage creative company culture,
  • support programs to increase creative capabilities and early technology adoption,
  • focus on the creation of novel customer experience that build bonds and increase brand loyality.

As a result of these efforts and investments the “Creative Dividend” can be traced and grasped as the following measurable impacts:

  • More companies that foster creativity achieve exceptional revenue growth than others;
  • More creative companies enjoy greater market share and competitive leadership;
  • More creative companies win recognition as best place to work: creative companies create high-performance work environment which is appealing for employees and strengthen employer branding.

(Thought Leadership Paper by Forrester Consulting- A Forrester Consulting: The Creative Dividend – How Creativity Impacts Business Results)

Measuring impacts of creative investments is a crucial way of building creative awareness in the company as well as among owners and investors and generating long term commitment towards the strategic objectives of the company. How it requires careful construction of measurable indicators relevant to the company as well as systematic collection of data and information. Building a creative organization is a long-term investment and although measurement is crucially important indicators on return on investment is to be linked with the long-term strategy of the company.

Art & Creativity in Business – Case Studies

Arts-based dialogue had a transformational impact on the Ginger Group Collaborative


The Ginger Group Collaborative, a network of organizational consultants needed to figure out if they should stay together or disband.

“We weren’t ready to give up, but we weren’t sure what might emerge next. Somehow, we had to test our deeper sense of purpose and commitment to the possibilities. Do we have the energy and vision to stay together?’ ‘Is it time to go into business together?’ ‘Are we going to get real or not?’ We were at a turning point.”


“We invited a painter to bring her collaborative painting techniques to our retreat at Edenvale Center in British Columbia, to help us have a conversation we were finding difficult, “to go beyond simply the words and create a picture of the story that was in the process of unfolding.” The collaborative painting activities created a crucible for deeper levels of conversation, and “they found themselves telling stories of sensitive issues, personal journeys, and visions of their future. The retreat fostered open inquiry, sparked new energy, and ignited a sense of team spirit.” (Osborn)

One of the associates said “The paintings were a source of intimacy the group needs to stay together and provided a forum for rich and insightful dialogue. We realized that the archetypes that emerged in the images of our painting represented the essence of what we wanted to convey about collaboration to our public.”


“We had struck a vein of gold that helped us shape our future together.”
Through arts-based dialogue, the Ginger Group discovered other ways of knowing and expressing what matters. “We have learned that it’s not about making art, not about performance. It’s about creating meaning together, using powerful visual symbols and images that come from the deepest parts of our being.”

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TILLT project in a Swedish company

TILLT is a Swedish not-for-profit company which aims to facilitate the collaboration of artists and organisations from different arenas of social and business life. Highlighted areas of interventions are organisational development, sustainability and climate change, diversity and inter-culturalism. TILLT creates projects in which artists and organizations meet to develop creative and innovative processes, around topics such as communication, innovation development, idea generation, leadership, values and diversity. Based on a given need and/or a desired goal, a matched artist works through his/her ability to analyze and think creatively in creating development within the business.


A Swedish company from the circular economy invited TILLT to support its efforts to strengthen employee identity and loyalty, increase cooperation across the organisation as well as increase knowledge and pride as being part of an environmental company.


Artists worked together with group of employees to formulate and conduct action plan of projects across the organisation. It included among others creating photographic and video documentation of workplace processes, impacts of company services, developing games.

Artists worked for a period of 10 months within the company. First two months focused on mapping the organisation, building contacts and personal relations to managers and employees as well as developing an action plan. Following 6 months they carried out a number of joint activities, workshops and events with employees. The artist lead in an amusing and playful way exploratory and reflective exercises where employees and managers together have a dialogue that illuminates, clarifies and develops current issues.

Finally, an evaluation and final seminar was organised with the participation of all parties, including artists as well as employees.


  • management perceived a “significant cultural shift”;
  • 24% increase in efficiency recorded over previous year;
  • media interest also made employees feel valuable:
    “Culture is what we do as humans that enriches our lives. We do our work, we take pride in it – why not enrich our lives at work too?” – as expressed by a forklift operator.

Click here to see our open learning courses for

  • trainers and artists on creativity development (Creativity at work)
  • CEOs and managers on how to boost creativity at the organisational level (Valuable Creativity in Companies)



The Open Education Resource (OER) of Valuable Creativity is an opportunity to understand the importance of creativity in general and what creativity means in the specific life of companies! Why is an OER important? The OER gives you an overview of what creativity is and highlight the fact that creativity has many forms of appearance, and creativity is used in as many ways as that.

In the OER you are introduced to the 4C model, which presents four types of creativity from the very small creativity of everyday life and how we use creativity to solve problems as they occur. Over the creativity linked to our learning and how we as citizens or staff are able to improve our capability in being creative and then up to professionals who use creativity to become better and more competitive in all aspects for professional activity. Finally, creativity is linked to how artists work, with its way of work we can make pattern breaking and open new paths of understanding and solutions. The 4C model emphasises that creativity exist on all levels of our life and the better you as a company, staff or citizen is to use creativity, the more things can improve.

The OER touch especially on how much companies can befit from working with the creativity that exists on all levels from the staff to the management of the company. It can start with the way meetings are organised, or it can start by practising the openness that everybody in the company can be invited to and that this involvement can create new solutions! It stresses the importance for companies to build an environment that encourages creativity, and the OER shows the attitudes for this from risk-taking to how groups improve their methods in problem-solving and finding new ideas.

THE OER also investigates how artists and people with professional competence in creativity like adult educators can be involved, and how their creative approach can contribute to improving the values and the outcomes of the Company involved. The message of the OER is that the involvement of external professionals from the world of art and creativity can create new pathways to lift companies to improve their outlook and performance. The OER shows what it is important to be aware of when an artist can be involved and effectively support creativity in companies; like setting tangible goals for the cooperation with the artist; setting clear agreements and for the companies to have an openness to perceive and obtain the diverse ways on how the artist work as an opportunity to challenge all the ´”how-it-use-to-be” conventions in the company! The OER propose a step-by-step way to optimise the possibilities of cooperation between companies and artist.

The OER on Valuable Creativity is an entrance for all people who would like to support companies in being more creative and by this also more sustainable and resilient

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