New research reveals a global creativity gap in five of the world’s largest economies, according to the Adobe® State of Create global benchmark study [PDF]. The research shows 8 in 10 people feel that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth and nearly two-thirds of respondents feel creativity is valuable to society, yet a striking minority – only 1 in 4 people – believe they are living up to their own creative potential.
Interviews of 5,000 adults across the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan expose surprising attitudes and beliefs about creativity, providing new insights into the role of creativity in business, education and society overall.
Workplace Creativity Gap
The study reveals a workplace creativity gap, where 75% of respondents said they are under growing pressure to be productive rather than creative, despite the fact that they are increasingly expected to think creatively on the job. Across all of the countries surveyed, people said they spend only 25% of their time at work creating. Lack of time is seen as the biggest barrier to creativity (47% globally, 52% in United States).
More than half of those surveyed feel that creativity is being stifled by their education systems, and many believe creativity is taken for granted (52% globally, 70% in the United States).
“One of the myths of creativity is that very few people are really creative,” said Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D., an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. “The truth is that everyone has great capacities but not everyone develops them. One of the problems is that too often our educational systems don’t enable students to develop their natural creative powers. Instead, they promote uniformity and standardization. The result is that we're draining people of their creative possibilities and, as this study reveals, producing a workforce that's conditioned to prioritize conformity over creativity.”
Creativity Rating: Japan Ranked Most Creative
The study sheds light on different cultural attitudes toward creativity. Japan ranked highest in the global tally as the most creative country while, conversely, Japanese citizens largely do not see themselves as creative. Globally, Tokyo ranked as the most creative city – except among Japanese – with New York ranking second. Outside of Japan, national pride in each country is evident, with residents of the United Kingdom, Germany and France ranking their own countries and cities next in line after Japan.
The United States ranked globally as the second most creative nation among the countries surveyed, except in the eyes of Americans, who see themselves as the most creative. Yet Americans also expressed the greatest sense of urgency and concern that they are not living up to their creative potential (United States at 82%, vs. the lowest level of concern in Germany at 64%).
Four in 10 people believe that they do not have the tools or access to tools to create. Creative tools are perceived as the biggest driver to increase creativity (65% globally, 76% in the United States), and technology is recognized for its ability to help individuals overcome creative limitations (58% globally, 60% in the United States) and provide inspiration (53% globally, 62% in the United States).