New Study Indicates Untapped Creativity Not Used in Workforce

Amazing how corporations have talent contained within their own ranks, yet they either do not attempt to utilize it or just ignore it altogether. One would that since the United States economy is becoming less dependent on manufacturing, innovation and creativity should be at a premium. In most cases, employees who develop and polish all their creative skills would be vital assets. So what gives?

Huge Supply of Innovation

There are literally millions of graduates from arts and design fields that are currently in the nation’s workforce. And data indicates that a large majority of alumni from these arts fields of studies have or are currently working in nonarts-related job positions. In fact, there are over 90% of them.

A new study has examined how these creative people see their innovation skills as extremely translatable to their existing jobs. Yet there are lots of these arts alumni who are not allowed to utilize their creative abilities and innovation skills.

This new study is going to be posted in the upcoming November edition of American Behavioral Scientist in a piece entitled: “‘I Don’t Take My Tuba to Work at Microsoft’: Arts Graduates and the Portability of Creative Identity.” In this study researchers have collected data from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project along with a study of double major students that was performed with support of the Teagle Foundation. The purpose of the study was to examine the translatability of the arts student’s creative abilities to their existing jobs.

Assessing How Creative People Performed

The authors discovered that lots of arts alumni, in arts-related as well as non-arts related jobs, simply are not being able to leverage creativity in their working lives. They point out that even though several workplace context elements like workplace environments which do not encourage or promote creativity, or maybe because people with creative training could be placing a limit on themselves. And then many of these people feel that their creativity skills are very relevant in some areas but not all of them.

“We were able to get information about thousands of people with arts degrees, and the jobs they have now, and find out how they think about the relationship between their arts training and their occupational trajectories,” says one of the researchers. “Specifically, the SNAAP sample size was large enough that we could look at people who received the same training and ended up in the same occupations and compare their orientations toward their current jobs. That’s never been done before on this scale.”

These researchers were very interested in the notion of “creative identity” or how these people who consider themselves to be creative, and have also been trained to be creative, view their creativity skills as being applicable or not applicable different occupational fields.

“Do arts graduates who now work as attorneys, teachers, computer programmers, etc. feel that their creative training is relevant to their work?” they ask.

During the SNAAP part of this project, researchers were keenly concerned about a question that asks people to discuss their own words, “how your arts training is or is not relevant to your current work.” The study revealed that students with similar training and are working in similar positions view that relationship between creativity and work in a different way.