Creativity is the new currency. According to the World Economic Forum, by 2020 creative thinking will be third on the list of the most important skills needed to survive and thrive in the fourth industrial revolution.
In an article on Fin24.com, Richard Haines, CEO of the South African Cultural Observatory, and Rosemary Mangopa, CEO of the National Arts Council, write that the fourth revolution is about artificial intelligence, machine learning, 3-D printing, smart robotics, mass automation, driverless cars and the internet.
Machines and automation are becoming standard practice. For people to survive and thrive, we need to reflect on the role that creativity can play in shaping, framing, communicating and influencing the changes in the economy and occupations.
New technologies and automation may eliminate the need for certain forms of work and labour, but they will also open up previously unimagined opportunities in industries that thrive on creativity and innovation.
Lillian Gray, contemporary South African fine artist, shares their opinion on the importance of creativity and innovation. She believes the only thing that will set our children apart in the near future is innovation. "In my day, a degree was your claim to fame. This is no longer the case, the ability to think creatively is the new differentiator. Yes, the internet, computers, and Artificial Intelligence are here to stay.
"Instead of working against it, let the machines take over the daily mundane tasks and then us humans can focus on innovation and the stuff that needs real effort and passion. The only thing that they cannot copy is our creativity; our ability to innovate. Creative thinking must be a toolkit for survival on planet earth."
Gray strongly feels that parents should act now to cultivate creativity in their children. "The fourth revolution is here. Don't wait to start preparing your children for the future world of work now."
She also agrees that science, technology, engineering and maths remain important for several career paths. However, the arts and creativity must rise to the occasion. "As artists, we need to start behaving professionally so that we are taken seriously and in doing so influence the future."