British businesses are at risk of a creativity crisis due to workplace cultures that stifle innovation, according to new Microsoft research.
Uninspiring workplaces, a stressful atmosphere and a lack of appropriate spaces to focus and think alone were all identified as major inhibitors to creativity.
Two in five workers surveyed say that creativity and innovation are neither encouraged nor rewarded within their workplace – despite the World Economic Forum saying that creativity is one of the top three skills workers will need to thrive by 2020.
The research, which unearths the views of more than 1,100 workers, found that whilst almost three quarters of respondents consider themselves to be creative, demands of the modern workplace need rethinking, with symptoms such as overworking and stress stifling our ability to tackle problems and produce good ideas.
Half of workers feel least creative when tired, 45 per cent when stressed, while existing workloads and organisational processes were also cited as barriers to employees being more creative.
Ryan Asdourian, Windows and Surface Lead at Microsoft UK, said: “Any organisation that believes creativity is the privilege of a few senior execs is missing out on huge opportunities for growth.
“Creativity is everywhere if you know where to look but like all skills, it needs to be nurtured and given the right tools. Businesses must do more to provide employees with the right working environment to handle different kinds of tasks, and the flexibility to get out of the office to spark their creativity.
“This research shows a clear lack of investment in innovation and creativity training, which is especially alarming when we consider the potential impact to the UK economy. The services sector is vital to UK GDP and its success has been built on our ability to solve problems in new and innovative ways.
“If UK businesses are not able to find ways to spark creativity within the workplace, they’re at risk of falling behind.”