Is it an epidemic? Creative professionals increasingly admit to a decline in their effectiveness and children’s creativity has also waned, according to two studies.

Nearly 50 percent of creative-pro respondents in the 2013 “Free the Creative” study by iStock say their creativity has stagnated. The image company says that’s the stunning conclusion from a survey of more than 400 professionals from art directors to graphic designers in the U.S. and U.K.

Children’s creativity has also plummeted according to education Professor Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William and Mary. After she analyzed kids’ scores from the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking in 2012, Dr. Kim says it’s a crisis.

Watch Professor Kim’s video:

iStock study

iStock’s study shows the culprits are lack of funding, inspiration and time.

Three key takeaways:

– 60 percent claim to have had “great ideas” but not enough support or time.

– 70 percent want more “creative time”

– 63 percent lack time for “creative reflection and inspiration”

“Our research raises questions around the state of creativity today in industries vital to the global economy,” said Ellen Desmarais, general manager at iStock. “When you consider that global revenues last year in the advertising industry alone were nearly half a trillion dollars, declining creativity is cause for alarm and should prompt an industry-wide discussion.”

Locations for creativity:

  • 34 percent name their workplace as one of their top three locations for creativity
  • 34 percent – during their commute
  • 25 percent – the shower or bath
  • 22 percent – exercise

Seventy-one percent say new technologies have helped them in their work.

Most often mentioned hobbies: Fifty percent listed photography while 30 percent mentioned writing, drawing or painting.

Children’s creativity

The level of children’s creativity started to decline in the 1980s, according to Professor Kim.

Symptoms include declines in the following:

  • Energy
  • Communication
  • Humor
  • Imagination
  • Passion
  • Perceptivity
  • Inability to connect the dots
  • Synthesizing

Addictive behaviors kill creativity

The professor lists the children’s addictions that prevent creativity:

  • Drugs
  • E-mails
  • Facebook and other Web sites
  • Video games

If the decline in creativity began in the 1980s, the studies’ findings shouldn’t be a surprise for creative professionals or anyone else under 50 years old.

It won’t get any easier. You must learn to adapt. Lose the addictive behaviors.

If you’re suffering from a decline in creativity, get away from the computer. Get exercise. Take walks. Go for a drive. Learn to meditate. Pay more attention to family and friends. Find hobbies unrelated to your work. Look around for someone less fortunate to help. Start a gratitude list for what is working well in your life and career.

Finally, to strengthen your creativity muscles, work on keeping an open mind. Practice the “principle of contrary action.”

In all that you do, do things differently each time, for example grocery shopping: Take different routes to the store. Park in a different area of the store’s parking lot. Use alternate entrances to the store. Go down a different aisle each time.

Yes, you’ll start adjusting your attitude and keeping an open mind, which will help you especially in innovation and marketing.

From the Coach’s Corner, here’s more  relevant information:

 7 Steps to Become Great at Thinking on Your Feet – Have you ever been at a loss for words? For example, when asked a question, have you been tongue tied in a sales presentation, while speaking at an event, in negotiations, during an interview or a staff meeting? 

Best Practices for New Women Entrepreneurs to Stay Focused – The keys for business women are to plan well, create the right balance, persevere and have the right support system. It isn’t commonly known, but women entrepreneurs inherently have stronger skills than men in key areas. 

Communication – You Can Train Yourself to Stop Stressing – It’s OK to be nervous before giving a speech or when you’re entering an important round of negotiations. Feeling pressure is one thing but allowing it to morph into stress and tension is another.  

Acting, Speaking Coach: How to Improve Communication with Others – Do you know when you marginalize others?   If you’re having communication problems with someone important in your career or life, chances are one or both of you will profit from tips in honest communication.  

Proof Positive: How Supportive Spouses Help in Work-Related Stress – First, it was the book, “The Millionaire Mind.” The book by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley revealed several traits of millionaires. One important statistic from his study of millionaires: They were successful largely thanks to a supportive spouse. 

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”
-Hans Selye


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.