How to recognise if you should pursue a creative career path

Published: 16 October, 2018

Categories: General

How to recognise if you should pursue a creative career path

Having an opportunity to speak to many school going youths and ask about their career choices, I hear “doctor” and “engineer” come up a lot, then “business” and “mathematics”.  When I ask why these choices, mostly the student responds that they would make their parents very proud and happy.  I ask if this is something that would make them happy and they shrug, that they are sure it would.  I’m pretty insistent, and I ask if this career choice is because they want to make a difference in people’s lives? Their eyes light up and they smile, and “yes of course”, what could be better than making a difference in the world. 

This is the part of the conversation where I ask the student if they realise that a career in design is tailor made to solve problems?  I get confused looks, I go on to explain.

Design is not only about beauty and creating pictures or making pretty things.  Design is about solving problems!  At this point I usually get “I’m not very good at drawing”.  GREAT, because creative problem solving doesn’t need you to be able to draw, or even be in the art or design class.  In fact, the science and maths class are very good places to find the problem solvers of the world. 

How do you recognise if you are creative problem solver?  Do you believe there is more than one solution to any problem?  Yes!  Then you are probably a divergent thinker, you believe there are many ways to approach any given problem.  This makes your way of thinking valuable in society, because without the explores and those who question, those who believe there are more than one way to solve a problem, we would only ever get the same solution.  You are a disrupter, the one who not only questions, but also explores and tries, even if the possibility of failure is imminent. 

So, what about failure?  Failure is not the end of a possible solution, it is just the beginning.  If you see yourself having the tenacity to keep trying, to ask questions, to keep applying different options, and try new things, regardless of the possibility of failure, you may very well be a problem solver.   If you can apply analytical thinking to your past failures and learn from them, chances are you are a design thinker. 

Problem solver, designer thinker, critical thinker, analytical thinker and Ideation specialist.  These are qualities that can belong to anyone, and don’t only sit in the design class, or are options open to those that can draw, or are already creative.  If you believe you can make a deference in the world and have a passion for discovery and exploration, then design is a career pathway for you.  Whether you are in school, or already in an ‘career’, creativity as a career option is only a mind shift away. 

The questions we are starting to ask are not what jobs will make it ‘beyond the fourth industrial revolution’, but rather what skills do you need to learn now, so that you will thrive beyond 2020.   The job spectrum beyond 2020, will be looking for complex problem solvers, critical thinkers, and creatives.  So perhaps you shouldn’t be asking yourself if you should be perusing a creative career path, but rather can you afford not to! 

Written by Mornay Schoeman

Dubai Campus Director