The surprising link between creativity and risk

Some of the links between creativity and risk are pretty self-evident. Creativity is all about trying something new, exploring the unknown, and accepting uncertainty and the possibility of failure. In the corporate setting, we understand intuitively that creativity fuels strategy, innovation, and growth. In a world where machines are taking over predictable, tedious tasks, it’s no surprise that there’s a mounting premium on the kinds of skills, such as creativity, that machines cannot (yet) replicate.

But there’s a less appreciated benefit of creativity that is just as powerful. Creative employees are more likely to take the kind of “good” risks that lead to innovation. They’re also willing to take the social risk of speaking up to help to steer the team out of harm’s way. That’s why the squeaky wheel—the whistleblower, the skeptic, the constant questioner—may also be a reservoir of creativity.

To understand how these qualities are related, it helps to broaden how you think of creativity.

Risk, creativity, and vision

Many people associate art with creativity and innovation. But most of us only think of half of the picture when it comes to artistic creativity. Drawing is a highly transferable skill that, beyond its purely aesthetic applications, has been used in every great idea and invention throughout history, says the artist Drue Kataoka, who works at the intersection of art and technology.

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