Why Does the Social Sector Need Creativity?
As the world becomes more complex and volatile, creativity is needed more than ever to navigate it. We'd add that creativity is important because without it, we cannot imagine, let alone build, what is to replace today's inequitable, broken systems.
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According to the World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report, creative thinking has drastically risen in importance as a desired skill.
Shift your mind into creativity mode with the help of this tool.
Interested in working with us to build a culture of creativity? Learn more about how we can help.
Explore our top reasons why nonprofits should lean into creative thinking.
The status quo is stripping us of the creativity needed to imagine new futures and the path to getting there.
We have lots to say, not just about using creativity and imagination to spark innovation, but about the social sector in general.
“Throughout history, achievers of great change have relied on their imaginations to address fundamental flaws in society. In my country of birth, Czechoslovakia, dissidents against Communism kept their dreams of democracy alive for decades by imagining different futures. In South Africa under apartheid, Nelson Mandela’s followers had to be radical in their imagination to create a vision of a fairer society.”
—Peter Sutoris in Scientific American
Creative thinking is the skill with the fastest growing importance in the workplace.
In recent years, creative thinking has drastically risen in importance as a desired core worker skill—as evidenced in the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Future of Jobs report — and is now the second most desired workplace skill.
Source: World Economic Forum's Future of Job Reports 2018, 2020, 2022, 2023
We ranked the top ten skills using a weighted scoring system, which means that skills were given weight based on their importance in the future of work core skill ranking. We used these weighted scores to create a chart of the data.
As a data cleaning rule, we maintained the score to the left for missing data. This means that we kept the same score for the skill "complex problem-solving" from the 2022 period in the 2023 period, even though it was missing a ranking. We applied this rule because although complex problem-solving is highly emphasized as a rising important skill for workers in the future of work in the 2023 report, it was not ranked in the report.
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Top 10 Reasons
in the nonprofit workplace
Reclaiming the Right to
The imagination, while in theory, is accessible to all, must be cherished and protected, if it is to come alive.
The status quo is stripping us of the creativity needed to imagine new futures and the paths to get there.
Many nonprofit staff live with an insidious scarcity. This hardship comes in many forms – burnout, time poverty, and the frustration of time spent on seemingly meaningless tasks. It ultimately manifests as a relentless busyness that, while having the appearance of productivity, robs staff of the breathing space to imagine, to make meaning, and to examine whether their work is truly uprooting social and environmental dysfunctions.
Human creativity is boundless and we are on a mission to help social impact organizations tap it for the greater good. With an arc of services from research to storytelling to ideation, we focus on helping clients maximize their impact and stand out as thought leaders. Ultimately, we believe that imagination creates impact.
To reclaim the right to imagine, we must demand it of:
Funders must understand that breathing room for the imagination, along with such program quality-focused tasks like professional development, research and development and organizational learning, needs unrestricted resources. The myth of the low overhead as an indicator of nonprofit effectiveness, needs to be done away with once and for all.
The leaders of our organization must lead the way with their imaginations, creating workplaces where staff are allowed to ask ‘what if’ questions, to fail, and to rest and recharge.
We must ask them for trust, along with their money, to find better and better solutions, even if this takes us on windings paths and some dead ends.
They should ask us the questions that challenge sacred cows and open up new possibilities.
We must continually remind ourselves that future-building starts with imagination, and use what leeway we have to make it so.
To read the full explanation of The Right to Imagine and view related resources, visit www.ignitedword.com/the-right-to-imagine
From Roads to Air:
Rebooting the Mind
Would you throw random ingredients into the oven to see if they form a cake? Neither should you expect original ideas from following a recipe. Instead, shift your mind to creativity mode with the help of our tool using "From > To's"
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Creativity Culture Building
Most people in the social sector enter this line of work to help build something magical; say, something that brings a longer, happier life to someone. Or that helps heal our beleaguered planet. But along the way, the day-to-day imposes its reality of managing grants and projects, prospecting, and attending to donor requirements. Creativity restores some of the magic, even for those who find their work deeply rewarding, making it possible to achieve more results, with more joy.
More Magic, Less Drudgery