When the DX dust settles around the world, organizations with intrinsically creative DNA will again rise to the top …

As economies worldwide hop onto a digital economy bandwagon, business leaders across the globe will be challenged like never before: managing distributed workforces, elevated customer expectations, rising digital competition amid a dearth of skilled digital talent.

As we head into this new landscape, those organizations that embrace a creativity-led leadership approach may actually find exclusive opportunities to thrive, because in a digital economy, creativity spurs innovations and corporate DNA that stand out from the crowd.

According to the Adobe Creativity Quotient (CQ), a multiple-choice questionnaire on leadership, here are five strategies for evolving and elevating creativity in the organization for 2021: 

  1. Culture is the overarching factor that influences creativity
    According to Adobe CQ, only 29% of APAC leaders have succeeded in creating a culture that embraces creativity. However, as businesses start moving towards a new normal, leaders must drive a creative culture, even in a hybrid digital analogue work environment.

    As the term “Working from Anywhere” becomes commonplace, attention should be paid to recreating or replacing the aspects of culture that require in-person engagement in order to cultivate a culture of openness and collaboration.
  2. Data centricity only matters if you have the right data
    Data centricity is key for customer centricity, which lies at the intersection of data and culture. However, only 36% of leaders in the CQ indicated that they effectively used data at the start of every creative process, and almost 20% used data retrospectively to post-rationalize creative approaches.

    For more strategic, meaningful and structured use of data right from the start, an organization’s priority must shift to collecting and dissecting the right data. Additionally, it is vital that the insights are contextualized by how the pandemic has changed customer behavior.
  3. Blue the line between corporate functions by mandating delivery of innovative experiences
    Deeper cross-department collaboration will become key to business success as organizations aim to become more agile with customer experience. According to Adobe, it is vital for the C-suite roles to take joint ownership of customer experience, which will allow companies to understand the various aspects of customer journeys.
  4. Focus on creative skill development needs to accelerate
    In 2021, leaders have to look into fostering entrepreneurial skills that can be applied across business functions and roles. The CQ saw just 25% of APAC respondents leading the way with driving creative skills needed to navigate transformation and change.

    As technology continues to advance, technical skills will become less critical. Unique human skills such as empathy, critical thinking and problem solving become more important as they play a crucial role in driving the success of an organization.
  5. Understand how technology can help augment human skills
    The emphasis on business leaders in 2021 will be on the importance of investing in both technology and skills to create engaging, valuable customer experiences that will endure.

    According to Simon Dale, managing director of Adobe SEA, leaders have to understand the power of an integrated customer journey management, which will be a key challenge in the path of digital transformation.

    Aspects such as the ability for organizations to rapidly take data from insight to action will be crucial in a business environment that is certain to be fluid and turbulent over the next year. For leaders, the challenge lies within recognizing this power to augment, enhance and empower every team.

Creativity for leaders means finding innovative solutions to problems. By challenging the status quo and inspiring their team to do the same, those who embrace a creativity-led leadership approach will excel in the new year.