Creativity + Tech = Opportunity

by Lisa Lindgren

posted on 01-24-2017

Posted by Jace Johnson, Vice President of Global Government Affairs and Public Policy

Note: A similar article first appeared in The Hill on December 2, 2016

We at Adobe believe everyone has a unique perspective and the capacity to create something that has never been done before. Every day we strive to inspire creativity in people who want to use their life experiences to make a positive, meaningful impact – on our education system, our environment, and our communities. From our individualized products and services to our investments in science, technology and arts education, Adobe is driven to empower creativity in everyone.

As technology continues to advance, non-routine cognitive skills and the ability to think outside the box has become increasingly more important. Adobe’s most recent State of Create global benchmark study found that an overwhelming majority of people around the world believe that creativity positively impacts society (70 percent) and the economy (64 percent). Two out of three respondents believe people who are creative make better workers, leaders, parents and students. People also believe that investing in creativity leads to business success. A business that invests in creativity is more likely to increase employee productivity (78 percent), have happier employees (76 percent), have more satisfied customers (80 percent) and are more competitive (79 percent). Despite the positive impact of creativity on society, few people are realizing their creative potential. Only 41 percent describe themselves as creative and 69 percent report they are not living up to their creative potential. We recognize that frustration, which is why we have invested our time, technology and talent to help people harness innovative skills and unlock creative opportunity.

Every sector—from government, to business, to education—should support policies that enable creative development. All too often, however, our classrooms and offices do not provide an environment where people can explore our critical thinking, socioemotional and collaborative abilities. To ensure that students and professionals alike have the opportunity to develop a diverse skill set, Adobe has invested not only in traditional STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math – but also in the arts. This expanded focus from STEM to STEAM is crucial because innovation is not solely the domain of entrepreneurs, engineers, or programmers. Artists create meaning, communicate ideas and help bring to light new problems and solutions.

In addition to our support for art and design taught in tandem with conventional math and science curriculums, Adobe is also committed to empowering the next generation of computer science students. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings. However, U.S. universities are expected to produce only enough qualified graduates to fill 29% of these jobs. One of the ways Adobe is attempting to tackle this divide is by partnering with organizations like Girls Who Code and Technovation that provide opportunities for youth, particularly girls and underserved groups, who are underrepresented in the coding community.

In the age of automation and virtualization, the need for original, innovative thinking has never been greater, and that is why inspiring creativity is critical to finding innovative solutions for the problems of the 21st century. Current and future generations will need to learn several skills and develop cross-industry experience in addition to bringing an entrepreneurial and creative mindset to their own jobs and organizations to be successful. Jobs of the future will consist of blending two or more traditional disciplines into a new form of problem solving and working. At Adobe, we’re taking on the important mission of enabling people of all backgrounds to express their creativity and unlock the opportunity the digital world has to offer.

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