British businesses at risk of creativity crisis

Businesses in the UK are at risk of a creativity crisis due to workplace cultures that stifle innovation, according to new research published by Microsoft.

Creativity Crisis - Demands of the modern workplace need rethinking, with symptoms such as overworking and stress stifling the nation's ability to tackle problems and produce good ideas - image courtesy of Microsoft
Demands of the modern workplace need rethinking, with symptoms such as overworking and stress stifling the nation’s ability to tackle problems and produce good ideas – image courtesy of Microsoft

Uninspiring workplaces (41%), a stressful atmosphere (34%) and a lack of appropriate spaces to focus and think alone (28%) were all identified as major inhibitors to creativity.

Two-in-five workers surveyed (40%) said that creativity and innovation are neither encouraged nor rewarded within their workplace – despite creativity being one of the top three skills workers will need to thrive by 2020, according to the Word Economic Forum.

The research, which collates the views of more than 1,100 workers, found that while almost three-quarters of respondents (73%) considered themselves to be creative, demands of the modern workplace needed rethinking, with symptoms such as overworking and stress stifling the nation’s ability to tackle problems and produce good ideas.

Half of workers (50%) felt least creative when tired, 45% when stressed, while existing workloads (39%) and organisational processes (32%) were also cited as adding to the creativity crisis.

Respondents also felt that their organisations were doing little to address the problem. While 49% of employees felt that learning new creativity skills would help them be more effective in their role, three-quarters (75%) said they hadn’t been offered training to nurture these skills within the past two years.

Scenarios where respondents felt most able to exercise creativity and problem solving were when they had time to themselves (42%), whille taking a walk (26%) or taking time away from the office by being outdoors (21%).

Ryan Asdourian, Windows and Surface Lead Microsoft UK, explained: “Any organisation that believes creativity is the privilege of a few senior execs is missing out on huge opportunities for growth. Creativity is everywhere if you know where to look, but like all skills, it needs to be nurtured and given the right tools.

“Businesses must do more to provide employees with the right working environment to handle different kinds of tasks, and the flexibility to get out of the office to spark their creativity. This research shows a clear lack of investment in innovation and creativity training, which is especially alarming when we consider the potential impact to the UK economy.”