The digital revolution has radically transformed everything in our lives: the way we work, communicate, learn, or spend our free time. With talk of AI looming around the corner and many jobs becoming irrelevant, more and more people are leaning towards the hard sciences to try to make their careers “future proof.” Obviously, we need more scientists in the world, but I also believe that we are overlooking a really important group of future innovators.
I believe that creatives, (including but not limited to: artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, designers, actors, directors, etc) are currently in a unique position to become some of the best entrepreneurs and innovative employees in the digital economy.
Why do I believe this? Creatives have a unique set of skills and attributes that make them particularly suited to coming up with new ideas and enacting them.
Creatives are Excellent at Idea Curation
First things first, creatives are remarkable at coming up with ideas and seeing things differently. Whether you’re a painter, a writer, or a film director, creatives are trained to come up with new ideas on a daily basis to make themselves stand out from the crowd and make their work the best it can possibly be.
Improv comedians in particular train for years to master coming up with ideas on the spot through a whole variety of strategies including "Yes, And," and "A to C," and utilize these to entertain and come up with the wildest ideas just to make you laugh.
Creatives have a Different Perspective
Another huge attribute for creatives is having an outsiders perspective and not necessarily knowing what all the rules are (yet). When you are someone who is looking at a business, or a marketing strategy, or a product for the very first time, you are not necessarily limited by the same “rules” as someone who has spent years working on the same project. Creatives are fantastic at observing problems with a different perspective and know how to ask the right questions to find new solutions.
Creatives Respond to Criticism Well and Innovate in Unexpected Ways
One of the biggest assets that I believe creatives bring to the table is their ability to respond to criticism quickly and make bigger, bolder, changes than the average person. Most people have trouble taking criticism not necessarily because they don’t want to change, but because it’s hard to let old habits die. Creatives, on the other hand, thrive off of good critiques and are trained to adjust accordingly.
For example: writers can completely transform a story with just a few good notes. To Kill a Mockingbird would have never happened if Harper Lee’s publisher hadn’t told her to focus on the little girl in the flashbacks of Go Set a Watchman and rewrite her novel.
Creatives Understand Audiences and Adapt Accordingly
Creatives are excellent at understanding their audiences, and adapting their work to cater to them. How is this different from responding to critiques? Criticism is typically given by experts in their field. Audiences are people who may not know much about the work they are looking at but are the prime consumers that creatives are hoping to cater to. In this area, artists need to simultaneously create products that people want and sell their work as being the best.
Take a musician for an example. Musicians have an incredibly unique ability to completely change the tone or style of a specific piece and make it sound completely different by changing the tempo, the instrument, or the emphasis they place on specific notes. Improv jazz musicians in particular, never play the same way twice and can quickly and immediately adapt what they’re doing based off of how their audience reacts.
In the workplace, this makes creatives phenomenal marketers, salespeople, product developers or designers because they know how to not only create something that audiences want, but also to sell that idea.
Creatives have an Incredible Eye for Detail & Design
Most people believe that only fine artists are detail oriented. After all, knowing how to make strokes on a page look like an incredible portrait is a remarkable skill to have. However, I believe that all creatives, no matter the medium, are detail oriented because they know the smallest thing can make or break a piece.
Dancers know that an extra upward flick of the fingers, can help draw an audience’s eyes up towards a beautiful set piece being lowered down from the ceiling. Filmmakers know that every part of every shot matters and make sure that every costume and set piece is just so. Comedians know that the best jokes come in threes, and the more detailed and personal you can make the joke, the more it will resonate with your audience.
Creatives are able to use these skills to make sure that the little things in every environment, are noticed and specifically selected to be perfect, and always notice when something is out of place.
Creatives have Strong Self Initiative
In the right environments, creatives are fantastic at taking something and running with it. Unlike most average people who may dream about making or doing something, artists have learned through time and dedication that actually making projects happen is always better than just talking about it.
Creatives have been trained for years to take that extra step, go that extra mile, and that for each good painting that you make, there are 10,000 that you had to make to get there. Because of this, creatives know how to get things done quickly and well, and will surprise you beyond your wildest dreams if you just let them.
Creatives are Masters at Adapting
But above all, I believe the most valuable asset that creatives have is the ability to work with as few resources as possible to make things happen. Most people can come up with big ideas that are difficult to execute, and believe that they can only execute with enough money or the right resources. While having money and resources can always help, finding ways to create amazing work with as few resources as possible and make a huge impact is a phenomenal skill to have. Creatives are trained to think in those ways and adapt to any situation that they’re placed in.
In film school, your first project is usually to make a one minute film, in black and white, with no audio, to train you to create the perfect image with as few distractions or additions as possible. As a musician, you don’t start writing symphonies on day one. You are taught how to write a song for a single instrument. As an animator, your first challenge isn’t making a phenomenal Pixar film. Your first challenge is to make a short film where your characters, silently, express themselves with their facial expressions.
If you’re in a workplace situation and you need to make budgets lower, or figure out how to make your product or ad or pitch as effective as possible with the smallest amount of resources, a creative is going to be able to take what you have, and make it work better than the largest budget ever could.
What do you think?
Do you believe that creatives have the potential to transform the digital economy's landscape? Why or why not? I would love to know what you think in the comments down below!