So many workplaces have a culture that dismisses creativity and playfulness as silly, frivolous, and something to rarely indulge.

Before I became a futurist, I was a change leader. Before I became a change leader, I spent 4 year studying and making fine art. At the end of high school I had a decision to make – accept a place at university to do a teaching degree, or go to art school.

My art teacher warned me that by choosing this path, I would develop skills that were desperately needed in the world of serious work, but would often be dismissed and undervalued. That when I found a workplace that valued my ability to bring creative and playful means to the way we do serious work, I’d know I was in the right place.

Approaching complex challenges with creativity became my greatest strength

I’ve gained tools to see issues from multiple perspectives, spot patterns, and notice what I’m noticing.

Embracing creative and playful means helped me let go of needing to look like an expert all the time. In fact, the greatest value I provide is when I lean into the Great Unknowing.

The culture of expert expects us to have quick and complete answers ready for every question. This leaves us with obvious answers and shuts off potential and possibility.

Instead, we can use creativity and playfulness to meet these questions with curiosity to find new and novel options on the table that aren’t immediately obvious.

A simple way to bring more creativity to your work today

In your next meeting: listen deeply to what’s being said. Write a list of every assumption you hear.

Notice what is taken for granted as fixed and unchanging in a constantly changing world, and you open up ways to name and challenge your blind spots. You can listen for signals that these assumptions might not be as solid as we think. You can flip the assumption, and consider the implications if this were no longer true. You might discover new paths forward you are blind to while holding this assumption tight.

Dismiss creativity and you dismiss your ability to shape the future

Creative and playful approaches create opportunity, strengthen your leadership, and enable you to shape the future – not just react to it.