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Creative Study

Bringing together different approaches in innovative ways will often solve seemingly insurmountable problems

The word "Creativity" often conjures up visions of artists, musicians and poets, but the word can equally apply to students, programmers, engineers and pretty well anyone who tries look at things in new and innovative ways.

Last year I was involved in a project with a major university that aimed to bring together very different industry sectors to solve business needs. The Interactive Skills Integration Scheme, was designed to look at Innovation, and how bringing together sectors with different approaches to the world can provide a spark that ignites a whole new business idea.

So when I found myself at a seminar titled "The Future of Creativity", hosted by the UTS Business School in conjunction with the Sydney Theatre Company, I had a bit of an idea what to expect. It may seem like a weird combination –Business School Dean Roy Green appearing together with actor Cate Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton to discuss how bringing together apparently different industries can solve problems.

Cate Blanchett hit the nail on the head, as she discussed the rehearsal process for major plays – "when there is a problem, we don't approach it from only one side - we look at it from a wide variety of angles - if a line isn't working in a play, maybe you need to change the staging, maybe the lighting or the sound - or maybe you just need to read the line faster".  Similarly in business problems, bringing together different approaches in innovative ways will often solve seemingly insurmountable problems.

What do industries want for employees? Do they want robots who will just do what they are told, or do they want workers who can think, who can innovate, and who can work in teams? Overwhelmingly it is the latter – people who display Creative Intelligence.

A study conducted by IBM in 2012 found that most CEOs consider Creativity to be the most important leadership quality needed over the next 5 years – and creative leaders need creative staff.

So what skills do TAFE students need to acquire? Sure, they need the technical skills that enable them to do the jobs they need to do; but increasingly they are expected to collaborate and to come up with innovative solutions to problems. Employers want staff with boundary crossing skills, including creativity, communication, leadership, problem solving and critical thinking.

Think about this as you are ramping up your involvement in your studies –subjects that don't appear to have any relevance to your field of study often end up being the most important learning you can do.

And apply that learning in innovative ways, using your Creative Intelligence. That is what will give you the edge, both in your studies, and  as you seek employment.