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Future proofing yourself to survive the New Industrial Revolution

Before COVID-19 forced recruiters to look differently at how we operate, Alex Wadelton was an advocate of thinking outside the circle to achieve results. In this article, written before the pandemic took hold, the author of The Right-brain Workout talks about creativity and its place in the recruitment industry.

According to a CSIRO study in 2016, 44% of jobs today are likely to be consigned to the scrapheap over the coming decade.

International predictive data on work, released by the UK’s NESTA, recently revealed creative jobs are likely to see a growth rate of 87% by 2030, contrasted with a sharp decline across more traditional industries.

These are scary figures to read if you are in a job that is in the crosshairs of AI and automation.

But by looking at it in a different light, it’s also very exciting. Because, as humans, we have an advantage of everything else on this planet. And that’s creativity.

By being able to create new ways of thinking we have gone to the Moon, built incredible flying machines, invented intricate cuisine, constructed complex systems through cities with millions of inhabitants, created cinema that movies scores of people emotionally, written literature that inspires people all over the world, and we can summon running water at the flick of wrist, electricity at the flick of a button, and through small handheld rectangular devices can call up any fact from history at the touch of a finger.

It’s really quite staggering when you stop and think about it for a minute.

But what exactly is “creativity”? And no, it’s not just about the arts.

Let’s start with small “c” creativity. That’s everyday creative thoughts and actions in every aspect of our individual lives. Like whipping up dinner from the leftovers in your fridge.

Then, there’s professional “c” creativity, which is defined as creative acts by experienced individuals or teams that impact a community or business. Like a logo design, newspaper article, the design of a new piece of tech or what you are doing day-to-day in your role in the recruitment industry.

By being able to think more creatively, you’ll be able to approach your everyday business problems from a fresh angle.

Who’s to say that the traditional qualifications that employers are looking for when filling roles aren’t neglecting the right people for the job, who haven’t gone the traditional path.

Can you solve this? Perhaps there’s a new way to screen applicants that hasn’t been explored before? Or maybe you might move into a new area that specialises in getting ready for the jobs that don’t even exist yet!

And then there is big “c” creativity, which is new ways of thinking that bring about significan’t change in the world. This is considered “genius” level.

This is Jørn Utzon looking at slices of oranges at his breakfast and turning them into the Sydney Opera House - the greatest-ever tourism ad for Australia.

Above and beyond your day-to-day job, could you develop a new role or app or idea that revolutionises recruitment?

With the ubiquitous nature of the internet, you now have the ability to do things that you couldn’t pull off a decade or two ago.

This is where the big opportunity lies. This is where robots and AI can’t operate. And it’s where we all have the creative genius inside of us.

Don’t believe you’re a born creative genius? Think again.

You may be aware of a test conducted by Dr George Lund and Beth Jarman. They started with 1600 three to five-year-olds and through a series of tasks determined that 98% were at genius level of creativity.

Yes, 98%!

They were so staggered by the results that they decided to do follow-up tests with the same children over the ensuing years.

By the age of 10, the figure was down to 30%. By 15, it had dipped further to only 12%. On testing adults, the figure had fallen to a mere 2% being considered “highly creative”.

Not being creative, it appears, is a learned behaviour. But, thankfully, it’s something you can unlearn.

Which is why Russel Howcroft and I collaborated on our new book called The Right-brain Workout.

It’s filled with 70 questions posed by some of Australia’s most creative people from the worlds of comedy, art, advertising, music, literature, and photography. Questions designed to help you, your workmates, and your kids to reconnect with your genius five-year-old self, or to help it flourish even more.

In 10 weeks you will rediscover the inner creative we all have. Because the more often you exercise your creative side, the stronger it will become.

The result will be you’ll have a different way of looking at and solving problems.

It’s part mindfulness, part stupid, part therapy – and part fun. It’s a course designed to help you to think playfully every day.

To use your creativity to discover new ways to resolve problems.

To put some positivity in to the universe.

In these turbulent times, if we can get people thinking creatively, we will have a happier world.

Because when you are creative every day you get to explore and see the world with fresh eyes again.

You get to see problems as an exciting possibility to learn new things. You get to create fun out of nothing.

And you just might future-proof yourself in the process.

The Right-Brain Workout is available at all bookstores or from

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