What Business Gets Wrong About Creativity
By Theo Edmonds
December 2, 2022

Creativity is only scary if you don’t know how to use it.

By now, most corporate leaders have seen the lists. From the World Economic Forum to McKinsey & Company, creativity consistently comes in as one of the top skills that every company must cultivate for the future of work. There is no one discipline or business sector that has a monopoly on creativity. So, let’s explore what business leaders need to learn from artists and scientists about this amazing innovation multiplier.

Creativity & Artists

When it comes to business, there’s a lot to be learned from the creativity and artistic expression of an artist. Whether it’s a musician, poet, visual artist, or filmmaker, artists cultivate and hone distinctive skills over a lifetime that can help business leaders. Here are 3 things that business leaders can learn from artists. 

Creative Problem Solving

Artistic expression encourages people to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to problems. Artists often have a unique way of looking at the world and coming up with creative solutions to the challenges they face. Business leaders can learn from this approach by tapping into their own creativity when approaching problems in their industry.

Understanding Trends

Many artists are ahead of the curve when it comes to seeing what’s popular in culture and society before it becomes mainstream. From fashion trends to music genres, artists have an eye for predicting which trends will become popular before anyone else does. This kind of insight can be invaluable for business leaders who are looking to stay ahead of their competitors by spotting new trends early on and taking advantage of them before anyone else does.

Connecting with Customers

The arts provide a powerful platform for connecting with customers (and internal stakeholders like employees) on an emotional level. Through stories, songs, paintings, and more, artists are able to create experiences that resonate with people on a personal level while simultaneously connecting individuals together as a group – something businesses also need to do in order to build relationships with customers and establish loyalty over time. By learning how artists connect with their audience on an emotional level, business leaders can use this knowledge to create better connections with their own customers as well.

Creativity & Scientists

Creativity is the lifeblood of arts, business, and science. It’s what helps you brainstorm new ideas, innovate solutions to old problems, and develop products that stand out from the competition. But, scientifically, where does creativity come from? Let’s take a look at three things that research from one scientific field, quantum physics, reveals about creativity.

Creativity Is Not Random

One of the most common misconceptions about creativity is that it is an unpredictable, random process. However, creativity actually follows certain patterns and rules—rules based on quantum physics! By understanding these rules and how they interact with each other, we can better understand our own creative processes.

Creativity Requires Balance

There needs to be a balance between two different types of energy in order for true creativity to emerge. On one hand, we need “quantum energy,” which allows us to explore new possibilities and think outside the box. On the other hand, we need “classical energy,” which provides structure and focus so that our ideas don’t become too abstract or disjointed. In other words, both freedom and structure are necessary for true creativity to take shape.

Creativity Is Connected To The Universe

Finally, creativity appears to be connected to the universe in ways we never imagined before. This isn’t just metaphorical; quantum physics suggests that all things are actually connected through a vast field of energy known as “the zero-point field.” This means that when we tap into our creative potential, we’re actually tapping into something much bigger than ourselves—a source of infinite possibilities!


Convene Creatively

There is much more to creativity than meets the eye! By understanding how to bring together artists and scientists within the business context, companies can serve an important convening role in unlocking their own creative potential and coming up with innovative solutions for businesses of all kinds.

Find Different Ways to Engage Uncertainty

Both scientists and artists understand the power of uncertainty and have learned over a lifetime how to harness the courage it takes to break free from the status quo. One of the most important lessons from both quantum physics and arts is that uncertainty plays an important role in creativity. This means that when faced with a challenge, it’s important not to jump to conclusions too quickly or try to control the outcome of the situation. Instead, it’s better to allow yourself to explore different possibilities and be open to surprises. This kind of openness allows for new ideas and innovative solutions to emerge.

Imagine Possibilities 

Both scientists and artists engage daily in focusing the power of imagination – a precursor to creativity – in conceiving new theorems and works of art, stories, music, etc. Imagination opens up a world of possibilities and helps us see beyond what we already know or believe is true or possible, allowing us to come up with novel solutions and approaches that would otherwise not have occurred to us if we had stayed within the bounds of traditional thinking patterns or conventions. 

Back in 2014, when the organization my husband and I co-founded, IDEAS xLab, got our first grants, it was to place artists on innovation teams in corporations across advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and so on. At the 6 month conclusion of one of the residencies, a lead engineer for a Fortune 100 company told me a story. They shared with me that they did everything possible to kill our project at its inception because they assumed that productivity would suffer. However, over time they became one of the company’s biggest proponents for more artists’ residencies. Two reasons were given: (1) it had helped them understand their own machines and process in new ways, and, (2) the quality of authentic engagement our team used to help the company manage through the process required for integrating artists into a corporate innovation group.


Creativity is essential for businesses looking for innovative solutions or a competitive edge in their industry. Creativity is also a set of skills that can be taught and used in many different ways. However, to benefit from the power of creativity, companies must bring together artists and scientists in a focused way and deploy these innovation assets with the same type of intentionality that capital is deployed.

The University of Colorado Denver’s Imaginator Academy, has embarked on an ambitious, long-term study to place collaborator teams of artists and scientists in companies of all kinds – both in the U.S. and Europe – for the purpose of understanding how the art and science of creativity can accelerate innovation and improve workplace wellbeing.

If this is something that interests your company, now is the perfect time for you and your team to explore new ideas and come up with creative solutions for any challenges you may face! For more information, please contact imaginatorac@ucdenver.edu or visit and follow https://www.imaginatoracademy.com

By Theo Edmonds
Culture Futurist™ | Creativity Strategist | Conceptual Artist | #WorkplaceWellbeing Researcher | Entrepreneur