Did you see this? LinkedIn reported that Creative was the number one most popular "buzzword"on U.S. member profiles in 2011. It turns out this was a somewhat surprising event since Creative didn’t even make their U.S. Top 10 List in 2010 (although Innovative was the #2 word that year).
What really catches my attention, though, is what LinkedIn editors think about this surge in popularity for creativity. Did you catch the headline? Overused. Buzzword.
I guess they'd prefer Effective (top buzzword for India LinkedIn members) or Track Record (Singapore).
I would think LinkedIn editors might celebrate instead, you know? After all, we’re talking about LinkedIn here, “the world’s largest audience of professionals.”
Let’s face it — until recently creativity was practiced by, well, creatives. Artists. Bohemians. And yes, the titans of industry created amazing products and businesses in the 19th and 20th centuries. Think planes and trains and electricity. But their workers didn't! Which of course was part of the rote-education-to mass-production plan.
And looking back just a little closer to the present, professionals weren't the ones to lead us in a headlong social sprint to be more experimental and creative in the 60s and 70s. (Though to be fair, by the time that era was over even professionals were sporting side burns or mini-skirts...)
But then a funny thing happened over the decades after: major, nonstop, game changing innovation. Upon innovation. Upon innovation…
Which of course means we have come to depend more on people who create, design, come up with and execute new ideas.
And as the world careens into a global marketplace where creativity is the most difficult skill to outsource, guess what’s most in demand?
What Erik Schonfeld over at TechCrunch says about this LinkedIn "creativity" phenomenon seems more to the point:
“The term [creative] used to mean artists and writers. Today, it means job stability.”
So that's why I find the conclusions about this this data from LinkedIn editors a bit odd. ‘Creativity,’ they say, is overused. Therefore, it follows, we might be inclined to 'Find and Replace!' Find that troublesome ‘creativity’ word flitting from one profile (resume and cover letter) to another and insert another word that — presumably — doesn’t buzz so much.
What? Find one that screeeeeeeches? Or hummmmms?
But are they kidding?
It seems to me that we live in times that demand more creativity, not less. And with all these media tools to broadcast, upload, capture, mash-up, design, announce, download, play, sing, post, shout, converse — why would we advise people to kill the buzz (word)?
We’re finally (after all these years) getting it right.
But okay, LinkedIn editors may have a point. If we all just claim to be creative, it is simply a buzzword. So don't forget what you learned in kindergarten: show and tell.