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Global Flipchart #20



March 2021

Intercultural Creativity™ for the World of Today and the Work of Tomorrow

By Genein Letford

When was the last time you had a great idea? When did you have to connect with someone to get that great idea off the ground? Creative thinking and innovation are now the top skills needed in our global workforce but ideas don’t come to fruition on their own. We need to know how to connect, create and innovate with people from various backgrounds and cultures to get innovative ideas into the market.

Due to technology and remote working, our workforce is becoming more global by the second. Working and creating with people from different cultures and backgrounds is now the norm. You might believe this comes natural to people but this ability, called intercultural competence, is a developmental process that most people don’t even know they can, and should, develop.

Intercultural competence is the ability to be aware of, shift with and adapt to other cultures.

This development happens in stages, starting from a monocultural mindset, where one experiences life from their limited perspective, to a global-intercultural mindset, which allows one to experience events and cultures from a range of perspectives. Those who are in earlier stages of this development often have difficulty connecting with people from various backgrounds and lived experiences. This affects their ability to see alternative possibilities, make connections and have high associations across fields, disciplines and cultures. Simply, it affects their creative thinking.

For this reason, the concept of, ‘Intercultural Creativity™’ will be the critical movement for the fourth industrial revolution.

Creativity is no longer negotiable. We need new ideas. Creative thinking isn’t just artistry and for the select few, it’s for all of us and in all fields. Creativity is the process of problem finding and problem solving with value, relevance and novelty. But how is creativity related to, or even dependent upon, intercultural competency?

Good question!

Creative thinking sits upon many cognitive skills, which interestingly enough, also overlap with the skills needed to become interculturally competent and work with people across cultures.

These skills are:

  • Having an Open Mindset
  • Empathy
  • Skilled Observation
  • Curiosity
  • Perspective Shifting
  • Awareness of commonalities and differences
  • Having the courage to connect, share and create!

When employees develop their intercultural competency skills they will in turn increase the skills needed for creative thinking and vice versa. The concept of ‘Intercultural Creativity™’ is needed now more than ever for this new era of work and innovation.

A company's greatest source of creativity and innovation is hidden within human talent. Often, this human talent and creative potential is wasted due to non-inclusive environments and lack of intercultural competency from the top down and bottom up. 

Creativity thrives in a culture of inclusion where employees feel engaged, connected and passionate about their work and their ability to contribute meaningfully to their organization.

For this to be the goal of 2021, developing intercultural competency that grows the creativity and ingenuity of your workforce should be on the forefront of this innovation generation.