Forget about knowing programming or accounting or learning the latest software, being a creative thinker could be one of the most highly-coveted job skills in the future, says billionaire investor and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
With 60 percent of occupations having at least 30 percent of work activities that could be automated currently, remaining competitive in the workplace of the future will be less about learning straightforward skills and more about creative thinking, said Cuban in a recent interview with Bloomberg TV. "When the data is all being spit out for you, options are being spit out for you, you need a different perspective in order to have a different view of the data." As a result, being a "free thinker" is going to be a highly-valued job skill.
While the trend toward automation continues to march forward, here are three actions you can take right now to boost your creative thinking skills from Mike Brown's new book, Idea Magnets: 7 Strategies for Cultivating and Attracting Creative Business Leaders.
Do an Annual Inspiration Inventory.
Don't wait until you feel uninspired to try to figure out what inspires you. Instead, do an "inspiration inventory," when your batteries are fully charged. Take 10 minutes and go Brainzooming to craft some notes on what inspires you. Think about the people, activities, times of the day and week, situations and locations, which rejuvenate and inspire you. Write them down. Circle or otherwise highlight the ones that make you feel the strongest creatively. Later, when your creativity is low, use this list as an action plan to make it flourish.
Determine Where You Stand Creatively
For most people, creativity ebbs and flows throughout each day, as well as through each week and, over longer periods of time. The Inspiration Inventory exercise should have helped you identify the specific times when you are more likely to experience max creativity, so now it's time to assess where you stand overall, in terms of your creativity. Rate yourself in terms of: accommodating new thinking; challenging your personal perspectives and diversifying your experiences. What are your strengths and weaknesses in these areas? Where can you improve? Take note and look for opportunities to grow in the areas where your creativity is the weakest.
Discover What You Don't Know
There are things we all need to know that we don't know we need to know. In other words, keep the knowledge that you don't know everything you need to know front and center in your mind. To discover what you don't know, find three people who have a different background from you or different interests. The key is to find people that are very different, even opposite, from you. Then take the time to intently absorb their perceptions and ideas. Understand how those differences were shaped in their lives. Think of them and what you have learned when your creativity is lacking and ask yourself how these people would approach your current situation.
Tara Baukus Mello is the Creative Strategist for Idea Magnets, the brand. She served as the consulting editor for the book Idea Magnets.
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Idea Magnets Robot illustration courtesy Faith Williams, a 12-year-old Idea Magnet.