Strategy and Planning

Creativity and critical thinking sit atop most lists of skills crucial for success in the 21st century.

Within our portfolio of business training and development, we are focused on helping organisations rapidly develop creativity and critical thinking skills.

They represent two of the “Four Cs” in P21’s learning framework (the other two being communication and collaboration). They rank second and third on the World Economic Forum’s top ten list of skills workers will need most in the year 2020 (complex problem-solving ranks first) and are listed by LinkedIn as the most important skills to acquire in 2019.

They have such prominence in part because they are human abilities robots and AI are unlikely to usurp anytime soon. In the near future, the picture that emerges is one in which people must compete against their own inventions by exploiting the most human of their qualities: empathy, a willingness to work together, adaptability, innovation.

As the 21st century unfolds, creativity and critical thinking appear as uniquely human attributes essential for staving off our own and our organisation’s obsolescence.

Creativity and critical thinking are most effective when they are viewed as a symbiotic combination.

Generally speaking, creativity is associated with generating ideas, while critical thinking is associated with judging them. In practice, however, the two are not so easy to separate. Creativity without critical judgment tends toward the fanciful, the impractical, the ridiculous. At the same time, critical thinking gets short shrift when simply reduced to making judgments, done creatively it makes a significant and innovative contribution. The combination is fundamentally creative in that it produces something new: an insight, an argument, a new synthesis of ideas or information, a new level of understanding.

Creativity benefits from our recognizing the role of critical thinking in ensuring the value of novel ideas. In turn, critical thinking comes into clearer focus when we recognize it as a creative act that enriches understanding by giving rise to something that wasn’t there before.

Creativity and critical thinking are most relevant if they create value.

What organisations need is a mechanism that translates the creativity and critical thinking capabilities of both individuals and groups – their collective intelligence – into business results. A mechanism characterised by immediacy and pragmatism. A mechanism that effectively solves complex problems (let’s be honest, in the 21st century, there are only complex problems).

If results cannot be made visible rapidly, the belief that creativity and critical thinking cannot make a difference is only reinforced and any attempt to make them part of the organisational fabric will prove futile.

Effective development of creativity and critical thinking capabilities requires applied training.

One of the frequent problems with training is that it is not combined with a focus on achieving immediate outcomes. Furthermore, research indicates that people forget 40% of what they learned in 20 minutes and 77% of what they learned in six days.

Development of the capabilities requires an approach that both enhances the knowledge retention rate and embeds the newly acquired knowledge and skills by immediately applying them to solve a significant business problem.

We offer the development of sustainable skills and capabilities, whilst solving complex problems, to generate immediate, significant business results