A reflection on ‘creativity’ – key to the economic recovery of UK Plc


£20 billion tax cuts this year, 20% VAT rise, the economy shrinking to 0.5% in the last quarter of 2010, etc – these are some of the key points much spoken about in news reports last week.

I am no economist, I am merely a simple citizen like everyone else naturally concerned with the impact the economy has on his pocket! But with the impact of the cuts happening across all areas and aspects of our lives, including cut backs in the public sector that will have a direct impact on the private sector, surely the time has arrived whereby as HR and business people, we now need more than anytime before, to begin thinking creatively on what can be done to ensure that as people-professionals, we provide a strategic response to the present state of the economy?

But what’s the solution: I suggest it lies in talent management – by way of embracing it as a holistic program of organisational change and development through the innovative use of people

The workforce landscape has changed. The 21st century is radically different from anything we have previously seen: the birth and fast paced growth of new age technologies and the implications it has for talent sourcing, the reality of world immigration and the breaking down of geographical boarders between countries, the drop in birth rates particularly in Europe and an ageing labour force, the dramatic behavioural change of generation ‘Y’ and their corresponding expectations and aspirations of what the workplace environment should offer, etc. These characteristics tell us one thing – that the nature of talent has also changed – and so too should our approach to talent sourcing, taking one aspect of talent management that is a key strategic response to the economic recovery.

Practically, what does this mean? It means that organisations now need to redesign themselves. Whereas before we waited for talent to fit into our organisational structures, organisations now need to fit into the ‘structures’ of the talent in the market place. A key way of doing this is for organisations to take an in-depth look at their skills (competency) frameworks, for example, so as to effectively impact assess their long term viability. Skills frameworks serve as the ‘success factors’ from which organisations attract, select and recruit talent into a business. But for skills to be truly relevant, they must reflect the ‘flavour’ and demands of the present labour market, without which an organisation will continue to recruit into its ranks the same type of person with same type of skills, over and over again – the implication being the inherent and reduced ability of that organisation to produce the relevant services that meet the changing needs of today’s ‘global’ customers.

A global problem they say requires a global solution. Skills frameworks need to be representative of global talent characteristic of the UK labour market. For it is only organisations with global talent that will be able to effectively understand changing customer needs, respond accordingly, and as a consequence contribute its quota to re-growing the UK economy.

Presently, organisations seldom review, revisit or have completely revised their skills frameworks in view of present global talent diversification and so policies, processes, procedures and general HR/business systems tend to remain stagnant and ‘off-key’ (despite best intentions) in terms of their actual ability to affect needed change at a multiplicity of levels in response to the labour market changes described above.

It must be mentioned at this juncture that core to this overall approach is a change in understanding of how diversity strategy can generate and increase the performance of a business. After all, we are in fact talking about diversity when we talk about a strategic response by way of ‘global talent’, ‘relevance’, ‘representative skills frameworks’, ‘organisational re-design’, ‘innovative use of people’ etc. And it is within these variables that creativity by way of maximizing the diverse ideas, experiences, skills and talent, inherent within UK Plc that will enable it begin to increase their long term commercial value in accord with the realities of global market changes – and by implication contriute their quota to helping the economic recovery.

The call to embrace creativity in view of the present economic challenges requires us as HR and Business people to develop a long term strategic outlook beyond ourselves and our ‘structured’ and ‘traditional’ systems and processes, and really begin to look beyond the box to determine what is needed for the future…in the present.



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2 responses to “A reflection on ‘creativity’ – key to the economic recovery of UK Plc

  1. Hi Jude,

    This lack of creativity is endemic in our society. It’s educated out of people at school. See Sir Ken Robinson on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY

    I’m ambivalent about competency frameworks. For them to be useful they need to be specific to the individual. Most are so generic that they have little use.

    • Hi Mark,

      Thank you for your comment. I entirely agree that creativity appears to be ‘educated out’ of us via educational curriculae in our schools of learning. Indeed, that is the central thesis of a book I read entitled ‘The Element’ by Ken Robinson – see link below:


      From a Learning and Development perspective, I think you’ll find it extremely interesting and useful. I will be recommending it to my blog readers this week!

      Many thanks


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