Does creativity matter? Research shows dramatic impact on business results


Firms that let employees be creative in their work are often rewarded with greater sales and market share, according to new research from Adobe.

The study found that nearly 6 in 10 (58%) of firms that foster creativity (rather than suppress it via strict processes or restricted autonomy)saw 2013 revenues exceeding their 2012 revenues by 10% or more.

Forrester Consulting to quantify one of the great intangibles in global business: creativity.
The Creative Dividend survey shows that what makes a company succeed — the ability to foster innovation; develop exceptional talent and leadership; and a high degree of brand recognition — is influenced by its creative perspective, practices and culture. But does creativity also impact the bottom line, and do companies experience more business success because they foster creativity?

Through this research, Adobe concludes that creativity is essential to current and future business success.

Key findings include:

• Companies that foster creativity achieve exceptional revenue growth than peers. Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents said firms that foster creativity had 2013 revenues exceeding their 2012 revenues by 10 percent or more. In contrast, only 20 percent of less creative companies performed similarly.

• More creative companies enjoy greater market share and competitive leadership. Creative companies are more likely to report a commanding market leadership position with a higher market share than competitors. Of those reporting market share leadership, creative companies outnumber their less creative counterparts by a factor of 1.5 percent.

• Despite the perceived benefits of creativity, 61 percent of companies do not see their companies as creative. Only eleven percent said their practices were perfectly aligned with firms readily recognised as creative. The majority (51 percent) said they were neutral or not aligned with creative firms, and 10 percent felt their practices were, in fact, the opposite of what creative companies do.

• Creative companies win recognition as a best place to work. A positive employee work environment is a fertile breeding ground for creativity. Sixty-nine percent of creative firms also reported winning awards and national recognition for being a “best place to work.” Just 27 percent of less creative companies achieved similar accolades.

View the infographic below:


“For years, business leaders have focused on things like employee productivity, process efficiency and workforce planning as the key success drivers for their companies. But over the past few years, the mindset has shifted. Leading companies recognise the importance of another key success driver – the need to infuse creativity into all aspects of the business environment – from strategy and culture, to innovation and customer engagement,” said David Wadhwani, senior vice president, Digital Media at Adobe. “And creative companies are 50 percent more likely to report a commanding market leadership position over competitors.”

Liz Wilkins, Marketing Manager, Northern Europe, Adobe commented: “We’re experiencing a new era of creative collaboration, and as the Creative Dividend research shows, creativity is now getting the recognition it deserves as a key driver of business innovation and success. Creativity needs to be part of an organisation’s DNA, not just confined to the departments more traditionally known for creativity, like marketing and design. Creativity works best if everyone at every level and job function is brought into it and as it gets more recognition as a driver of business success, it will become a boardroom priority.”


In May 2014, Adobe commissioned Forrester Consulting to investigate how creativity influences business outcomes. The study surveyed senior managers from more than 300 large global companies across a diverse set of industries to understand how creativity impacts business results. Decision-makers from large enterprises in the U.S., U.K., France, Australia/New Zealand, Korea, Japan and Germany who influence creative software purchases were interviewed.

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