5 Ways to Get Creative in Any Job

At a time when firms need workers to live up to their creative potential, 75% of people say they aren’t. How to change that.

If you think of yourself as a creative person, but you don’t work in what most people would recognize as a creative job, it can be tough to find ways to use those skills.

According to an Adobe global survey, 75% of people think they’re not living up to their creative potential. But as famed Apple CEO Steve Jobs once said, “Creativity is just connecting things.” Even if you’re building your career in a more traditional industry like accounting or legal, you can absolutely be creative—if you think a little differently about your job.

Here’s how to find creative fulfillment, even in the most decidedly left-brained roles.

Get in the right mindset.

“A creative mindset includes traits like flexibility, openness, curiosity, collaboration, and perseverance through the inevitable roadblocks along the way,” says Val Olson, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance. To train your brain to think creatively, start by getting outside as much as possible.

Counterintuitively, taking an occasional work break will actually help you think better and be more productive. Leave your phone in your pocket, engage the senses, and let your mind wander. Clearing space in your head is the best way to allow new ideas to flow in.

Practice creativity on the side.

“Seek out one of the many great creative resources available,” Olson says. Take a look at books such as A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can be More Creative by Roger von Oech or The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. These books include tips for getting started writing, drawing, knitting, rearranging your house, or developing recipes.

Then, your newfound artistic practice will open up creative channels you didn’t know you had, and new kinds of creativity will start to show up in your job. Creativity is like a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it gets.

Bring ideas to your boss.

If you’re feeling de-energized at work, speak to your boss about what’s preventing you from getting in your flow, then bring some ideas to the table about what would work better for you. Your boss will likely appreciate that you want to be engaged.

Requesting to be assigned to a different project, thinking of better processes or operations that would help the team be more efficient, or even tweaking or redesigning your role are all creative pursuits. An easy place to start—one that could work in even the most traditional of roles—could be writing a monthly newsletter where you curate industry news and trends to share with your coworkers.

Talk with a career coach.

If you feel creatively stuck, talking to a career coach can help you get out of your head and give you the tools for dealing with low motivation or burnout. Creativity is just that—creating or generating something. That can take significant energy and time, so make sure you’re taking care of your mental health first.

A coach can help focus you and direct your creative pursuits toward meaningful personal and professional goals and what makes you feel alive.

Learn from other teams.

Learning from people outside your industry can set off light bulbs in your head about your own field. Ask to sit in on meetings in a different part of the organization, attend town halls, or take advantage of a learning opportunity—virtual or in person—where innovators share their ideas for growth.


Learn more about Korn Ferry’s career development capabilities from Korn Ferry Advance