Creativity pays: Global survey links being creative to stronger personal and professional success

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On the eve of Adobe MAX 2016, the world’s premier creativity conference, Adobe today released global survey findings that show investing in creativity pays off with tangible benefits – from higher income to greater national competitiveness and productivity.

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The report, “State of Create: 2016,” which surveyed more than 5,000 adults across five countries, reveals people who identify as creators report household income that is 13 percent higher than non-creators. More than two-thirds believe that being creative helps make people better workers, leaders, parents and students.

“An investment in creativity and design is simply good business,” said Mala Sharma, vice president and general manager of Creative Cloud at Adobe. “Creativity and productivity go hand in hand, but investing in creativity isn’t on the agenda for enough of today’s leaders.  This survey provides a big wake-up call to businesses that they need to think differently and give employees the tools and freedom to be creative.”

UK respondents rated the importance of creativity higher than the global average across many dimensions shown below. Key findings from UK respondents include:

Creativity delivers benefits for creators, economy and society

Creativity has permeated every aspect of society and has become vital to financial and economic success.

  • A large majority of UK respondents agree that being creative is valuable to the economy (71 percent) and society (72 percent).
  • Being creative drives self-worth. Creators are more likely than non-creators to identify themselves as innovative (+22 percentage points), confident (+17 percentage points), problem solvers (+14 percentage points) and happy (+10 percentage points).
  • Yet only 41% of UK respondents describe themselves as creative and just one-third (33%) say they are living up to their creative potential.

Creativity and design make for good business

Creativity’s benefits are not just for individuals – businesses benefit from prioritizing creativity and good design.

  • Most UK respondents believe businesses that invest in creativity are more likely to foster innovation (84 percent), be competitive (81 percent), provide better customer experience (78 percent), have satisfied customers (80 percent) and be financially successful (75 percent).
  • Respondents also say such businesses are more likely to have happier employees (80 percent) and increased employee productivity (81 percent).
  • 79% agree there is increasing pressure to be productive rather than creative at work and over half (56%) say people are increasingly expected to think creatively at work.
  • 82% of respondents also agree that it is important for businesses to focus on good design. More than half (53%) say that in the past year alone, they have paid more for a product or service that had good design.

Governments and schools have a creativity imperative

Governments that invest in creativity are viewed more positively by UK respondents, but there is a clear disconnect between the high value society places on creativity and the lack of investment in creative education.

  • UK respondents overwhelmingly perceive that a government that invests in creativity is more likely to increase productivity (82%), foster innovation (83%), have happier citizens (81%) and be competitive (81%).
  • 79% of respondents believe that unlocking creative potential is key to economic growth. Yet 75% percent feel the UK is not living up to its creative potential.
  • 66% of respondents believe that creativity is being stifled by the educational system, and only 41 percent feel that the government encourages schools to teach students to be creative.
  • A large majority of the UK population want schools to do more to foster creativity – by prioritising “learning by doing”over direct instruction(81%), developing a wide variety of student skills over specialised skills (78%t) and teaching creativity over memorisation (71%).

Japan seen as the most creative country

In addition to their views on creativity, respondents were asked for their opinions on the most creative country and city in the five countries surveyed. Globally, Japan is regarded as the most creative country (34 percent) and Tokyo the most creative city (26 percent), followed by the U.S. (28 percent) and New York (23 percent), respectively. In contrast, 10% of global respondents viewed London as the most creative city.