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Creativity is the Future of Work.

Do you remember when most professionals scoffed at the idea that AI was coming for their jobs? Or better yet, when your mom didn’t know what ChatGPT was? I think it was last October.

Fast-forward ninety days -- AI has passed the bar, we’re debating new definitions of “art,” and there’s a new LinkedIn drinking game based on ChatGPT poems.

So, where does all this fast-paced change put us?


What's next for us?


First, the bad news.

Unlike the Industrial Revolution, where only certain types of work were impacted, advances in technology are likely to impact all our work lives. A multi-year study by McKinsey suggests that AI and ML-enabled tech could automate about 1/3 of work by 2030 – including knowledge work performed by paralegals, lawyers, IT pros, and accountants. They estimate that between 400 million and 800 million individuals could need to find new jobs by 2030 globally.  I don’t know about you, but that’s a super-grim statistic.


Is it too late to unplug Son of Anton? *


Jeez. What’s the good news?

We don’t have to accept a future as servants to robot overlords. In fact, the World Economic Forum (WEF) says as many as 97 million new roles may emerge at the intersection of humans, machines and algorithms.

Even better news? You don’t have to be a software engineer or data scientist to get in on these new roles.


Creativity is the future of work.

That same WEF report identified two skills – creativity and innovation – as the most valuable skills people will need to stay relevant and thrive in the workforce over the next five years. An IBM study of 1,500 executives found the same results. They ranked the ability to be creative as their most desirable skill—even above management skills, integrity, and vision.

If you’re saying to yourself, ‘Great, I’m not an artist,’ there’s no need to panic. Creativity is not only art. It’s creative problem-solving. Ever used duct tape to fix... well, almost anything? Created a diaper in an emergency out of whatever you had on hand?



Creativity can be developed, just like technical skills.

Let’s not overstate it – you’re probably not becoming Picasso or LeBron without some level of inherent talent. But, studies show that genes may determine as little as 10% of our creative ability. That means the other 90% is all you.


Flex that creativity.

Feeling like your creativity muscles may be a little flabby? Here are some simple ideas to get you started today.

No matter who you are, you’re going to want to at least understand the basics. If you’re someone who’s already interested in data science, AI, machine learning, and all things algorithmic, keep it up. If you don’t know what ChatGPT is and what it can and cannot do, time to do a little reading. Or better yet, go sign up and start playing with it yourself. I promise nothing bad will happen.

Get out of your lane. So often, we only read stories or follow creators who talk about topics we already know a lot about. But, true human creativity often arises from connecting completely unrelated ideas, systems, and approaches. For instance, Nicola Shaver, co-founder LegalTechnology Hub, recently leveraged some prior research on manufacturing workers and their worries on job automation to help understand potential reasons why lawyers might fear the introduction of AI into their field, even where they knew it would not eliminate their job. Don’t just update your reading lists, though. Go meet some new people – older people, younger people, diverse people in all ways. Connect online. Follow some LinkedIn hashtags. Expand your knowledge base.

Use creativity “cheat codes.” No doubt we all think that creative types just whip up brilliant ideas out of thin air with little effort or work. And sometimes, that is the case (lucky them). But there are proven techniques that help support and draw out new ways of thinking. Take an online class in design thinking to develop your creative problem-solving. Check out The Artist’s Way, a book of activities aimed to lead you to ‘higher creativity.’ Or check out this scientifically reviewed article sharing “12 Strategies to Boost Creative Skills” for more ideas.


 * “Son of Anton” is fictious AI that threatened to destroy the world in the HBO series, Silicon Valley. It’s creator, a character named Gilfoyle, describes it deftly before taking it offline: “Once launched, our AI will keep learning to break more and more sophisticated parameters. Ultimately, this will mean the end of privacy. Electrical grids, financial institutions, the nuclear launch codes for every single nuclear weapon, all will be exposed. Pure violence will become the only basis of power… The network is doing exactly what we told it to do. The AI is optimizing the compression and the compression is optimizing the AI. Everything that makes it successful is exactly what makes it dangerous. It’s a feature, not a bug… We built a monster…” 


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