Office Survey: Creativity vs. Productivity

A study recently undertaken by Adobe has found that creativity in the workplace is suffering as a result of the digital age.

More than half of the 5,000 respondents surveyed in the UK, USA, Japan, France and Germany believed that educational systems stifled creativity and that, after joining the working world, the emphasis is on productivity rather than creativity.

Just 25% of those surveyed felt they had an opportunity to express creativity in the office.

When it comes to creativity on a global scale, an incredible 80% believe that unlocking this element of the human psyche is the key to economic growth and another two-thirds feel that creativity is an important contribution to society.

“One of the myths of creativity is that very few people are really creative,” says Sir Ken Robinson Ph.D., a specialist in education and creativity. “The truth is that everyone has great capacities but not everyone develops them.

“One of the problems is that too often our educational systems don’t enable students to develop their natural creative powers. Instead, they promote uniformity and standardisation. The result is that we’re draining people of their creative possibilities and, as this study reveals, producing a workforce that’s conditioned to prioritise conformity over creativity.”

As the world trends towards increasingly flexible and creative workspaces, there may come a time when creativity is better valued at the office.

However, the Adobe respondents aren’t so sure – 65% assert that the reason they feel stifled is not their environment but restricted access to the tools they need to express their ideas.

What do you think? Do you have a chance to express your creativity in the workplace or are you ground down by a results-driven ethos?

Survey Results

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Posted by Julia Fox on: Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 1:37 PM


  • Shasta

    Unfortunately, most employees aren’t able to meet their true potential for productivity either – which can be equally discouraging. The advent of open office plans with no privacy or noise control is making it increasingly difficult for workers to concentrate. If they were able to focus better, that could help with both productivity and creative thought.