The Top New Skill You Need by 2020: Creativity

Amber Johnson Change, Leadership

The World Economic Forum released their report, The Future of Jobs, last month, and the research is fascinating. In particular, the report asked chief human resources and strategy officers from leading global organizations to identify the skill sets the workforce of 2020 will need. Compared side by side to the skills identified as needed in 2015, the shifts aren’t dramatic – except for one skill: creativity.

Creativity moved from the #10 skill set in 2015 to #3 in 2020. Commentary on the report speculates that as we rely more and more on machines to make strategy decisions based on big data, human leaders are increasingly needed to supply the one thing machines cannot: creativity.

(See a chart of the Top 10 skill sets below.)

Though we’re tempted to think of creativity as having ties to the aesthetic world, creativity is business tool as well as leaders learn to look at challenges from different perspectives and find new opportunities emerge as a result. Dr. Frank Barrett,Professor of Management and Global Public Policy at the Naval Postgraduate School, says great business leaders are able to help people dislodge their routines so they pay attention. He calls this “radical receptivity.” As a result, he says, “they can respond in creative ways on the spot.”

Grow your own capacity for creativity at our next Senior Executive Roundtable, featuring Frank Barrett. Jazz & the Art of Leadership: Using the Tools of Improvisation to Lead in Unexpected Moments – Friday, April 1. Details and registration at

Top 10 Skills You Need to Thrive in 2020
future of jobs



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