By Presentation Studio

October 19, 2020

Creativity: your competitive advantage in a post-COVID world.

The last couple of months has led to a lot of structural upheaval across our economy and industries. This pandemic has made a compelling case for many organisations to finally take steps towards the fourth industrial revolution. As we navigate the new normal, companies are going to be taking advantage of automation, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. As we shift to those new ways of working, skill sets are going to change.

In this new world, creativity is the future business skill. Why? As we rely more on machines to make decisions, humans will need to supply what machines cannot: Creativity.  

Think of the last art show you went to or movie you watched. Yes, these bursts of creativity can follow a structured formula, script and curated plan, however, there is a special something that these creative outlets offer that learned ‘ones and zeros’ could never replicate. It is the story that they tell. And when it comes to business, creativity, in particular storytelling, allows for deeper connections to be forged, for needs to be met and for specific elements to combine that tap into feeling– excited, sad, angry or otherwise.   

Creative storytelling is the most powerful form of communication ever invented. Whether it’s the latest masterpiece, Hollywood blockbuster, a team or investor presentation, stories provoke our emotions. Our stories are made up of a collection of experiences, who we are, and what we have learned, and these combined are what lead us to have more meaningful and memorable connections.   

So, how can you use creativity to get ahead in business?  

In the 2016 World Economic Forum report, creativity, as a skill set, moved from number 10 in 2015 to number three in 2020. Leaders must learn not to stifle creativity, allow time for experimentation and resource the ability to problem solve through curiosity, imagination, innovation and expression of ideas. Utilising lived experience and sharing this with our fellow man/woman is gives humans the competitive advantage.   

Once more with feeling:  

Up to 90% of the thousands of decisions we make each day fall beneath our level of awareness and are reinforced through feelings and emotions and yet for too long we have been told that there is no room for emotion in business.  It is simply untrue. The human to human connection is now more powerful than ever and to get ahead and be noticed, we must employ our competitive edge, creativity.  For us to persuade, sell, inspire and lead, we need appeal to desired audience through our ideas, expression and via shared/relatable experiences –the cornerstones to emotional and creative storytelling.   

Hit them with ‘FOMO’: 

To get ahead in business, we need to consider our influence. We can’t rely solely on facts and figures to sell our idea or motivate others –we need to carefully and creatively balance logic and emotion.  We do this by providing clear and achievable goals peppered with our point of view that most importantly, appeal to their fear of missing out. What happens if they don’t buy into your idea? What is at stake if they don’t adopt what you have to offer?  

Science has proven that we make up our minds based on emotions and how we feel about something and in business we can use this to our advantage.  

Be solutions focused:  

Creative problem solving is one of the most important skills that will help you get ahead. It relies on being able to identify what it is that you offer that improves a situation.  What is it that you provide that no one else can? What is your USP? What is it that you can provide that identifies and addresses a potential pain point for people?  

Creativity in business doesn’t always address something labelled as a problem, but it always relates to a need. Inventions are a perfect example of this type of thinking. Identifying an opportunity, coming up with a solution and then showcasing its value to the world. By being able to imaginatively identify and communicate your unique offering, you will be ahead in no time.  

Emma Bannister is passionate about presenting big, bold and beautiful ideas.  

She is the founder and CEO of Presentation Studio, APAC’s largest presentation communication agency, and author of the book ‘Visual Thinking: How to transform the way you think, communicate and influence with presentations.’

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