CEOs in the Market for Creativity


I’ve written on many occasions about the need for imagination, creativity, and innovation (ICI) in business, even going so far as to call the first item on that list America’s “greatest domestic renewable resource” (in the book, Imagination First, co-authored with Eric Liu, page 26). But don’t take my word for it: according to IBM’s fourth biennial Global CEO Study—for which IBM consultants interviewed over 1,500 CEOs from 60 countries and 33 industries—business leaders around the globe “believe that … successfully navigating an increasingly complex world will require creativity” more than anything else. (Read the press release here.) While 80% of those surveyed think their environment will soon become even more volatile and complex than it is today, only 49% are confident that their organizations are prepared to respond to such growth, the inevitable result of industry transformation and modern technology. This gap between present capabilities and future demands explains why, in the words of IBM Global Business Services Senior Vice President Frank Kern, “CEOs identify creativity as the number one leadership competency of the successful enterprise of the future.” I should also mention that one of the points made by the CEOs—“Creative leaders are comfortable with ambiguity”—mirrors one of Lincoln Center Institute’s ten Capacities for Imaginative Learning, “Living with Ambiguity.” Indeed, it’s crucial in all areas of life to understand that problems may have more than one solution and that finding solutions may take time. The similarity between the CEOs’ thinking and ours is a fresh reminder that the world of ICI is a small one!

Image provided by IBM.

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