Volume 18 No. 4: Closing the Creativity Gap

Are businesses ignoring their greatest growth lever? 

Despite a heightened focus on growth, businesses frequently sideline creativity. Even though unconventional thinking is exactly what’s needed to reach new levels of success. 


Creativity is an overlooked growth lever

Each week, we break down another marketing concept so you can skip the hype and get directly to what works. 

A study by Deloitte Digital and LIONS called “A Radical Re-Think – Why Business Transformation Needs to Get Creative” found that since 2015, the total number of global C-suite roles with a focus on growth have increased dramatically. Demand for chief revenue officers grew 256%. For chief growth officers, that number is 554%. CMO roles, on the other hand, grew only 51%.  

And what about the chief creative officer? Despite CCO roles growing 87% from 2011 to 2018, they declined 4% from 2018 to 2022.  

There’s also a shift away from creative skills in marketing roles. An analysis of CMO postings showed the demand for design skills decreased 41% since 2019 and is now far lower than the demand for analytical skills. Plus, in nearly every industry, CMOs identify analytical expertise as a more important skill than creative expertise.   

Companies are deprioritizing creativity, leaving gaps in C-suite leadership and organizational cultures. Closing those gaps could be exactly what’s needed to achieve growth goals. 

But the solution isn’t as simple as just hiring more design talent. Creativity, especially the type that drives business growth, doesn’t necessarily equal artistic skills. At its core, creativity is problem-solving. And that type of creativity can come from anywhere or anyone. 

How should businesses handle this creative crisis?  

Look for ways to encourage creativity within your existing teams. This requires making it clear new ideas are welcome and developing a culture where everyone feels comfortable sharing. You may have fewer employees with “creative” in their title than companies did a decade ago, but ‘hidden creatives’ can be found in all sorts of roles. 

What about creative professionals?  

Find ways to keep your work accountable and show its impact on business outcomes. Great creative work is absolutely making a difference for the business—it's just about making sure leadership knows it. And don’t worry too much... While titles like “chief creative officer” are fewer than they used to be, it’s clear the need for creativity isn’t going anywhere. 

Key Takeaway: Bringing creativity back into focus is important. Start by expanding your definition of creativity and identifying where it’s already accessible within your organization. 

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