Creativity: The Most Valuable Skill Needed Everyday

What is your organization doing to help foster and promote creativity within the workplace? How does one foster a creative mindset?

Creativity is a skill that is needed in the workplace now more than ever. Employers desire to recruit individuals who are able to not only perform according to "policy and procedure" but are able to tap into their creative process in order to generate novel ideas, develop new products and services, and to think critically in order to problem-solve. Creativity is the mental and social process used to generate the ideas, concepts, and associations that most often result in transformational outcomes. We see the creative process at work in health care when we are able to look at things in a new way or from a new perspective—whether it be revising a testing algorithm that creates an afforded efficiency or implementing a new technology-assisted model of care. Creativity is the necessary ingredient of innovation, and without creativity, humankind would not progress. So, how does one begin to foster the creative thought process?

A few ideas and actions to implement now include:

  1. Find your flow: Create a work environment that reflects your needs and brings you enjoyment. When possible, start doing more of what you love and less of what you don’t love.
  2. Be inclusive and curious: Sometimes, the newest members of a team or someone from the outside can see opportunities where others might not. Model and encourage the inquiry process.
  3. Keep your mind and your eyes open: What ideas can be "borrowed" from another industry and implemented in your own workplace? Try to be "surprised" by something new every day.
  4. Lobby for "maker spaces": Create a space where ideas can be "tried out" or an environment that allows for collaboration between multidisciplinary and diverse teams.
  5. Take advantage of crowdsourcing: Leverage social media to vet your ideas and gain new perspectives.
  6. Practice your creative thinking: Engage your team in creative thinking and approaches to problem solving by trying one of the many techniques offered in the book Gamestorming by Gray, Brown, and Macanufo.
  7. "Design thinking" is another approach that can be used to foster and promote creative problem solving. If you haven’t read last month’s post by Justin Kreuter, M.D., on design thinking, take a few minutes to do so.


  • Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York, NY: Harper and Row.
  • Gray, D., Brown, S., Macanufo, J. (2010). Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media.
  • Lazarus, I., & Fell, D. (2011). Innovation or stagnation? Crossing the creativity cap in healthcare. Journal of Healthcare Management, 56(6), p. 363-367.

Carrie Bowler

Carrie Bowler is the Program Manager for graduate medical education within the department of laboratory medicine and pathology. Her responsibilities in this role include: accreditation oversight for the anatomical and clinical pathology residency program and 22 subspecialty fellowships, faculty development for program faculty and allied health staff, program evaluation and assessment, and curriculum builds.