With COVID-19 cases retreating in the U.S., the scope of most businesses has moved from reacting to change to accelerating recovery.
When it comes to innovation and creativity, some analysts say current conditions are ideal for a boom cycle.
"Times of turmoil are always followed by great times of prosperity," said Jay Pattisall, principal analyst at Forrester, during the virtual Forrester Technology & Innovation North America conference Tuesday. "The last time that civilization faced and defeated a pandemic, what followed was the roaring 1920s, with loads of innovation, new products and new opportunities for people."
Boosting creativity in an enterprise can put a business in overdrive. Companies that are creative leaders grow 2.6 times faster than their peers, according to a Forrester survey of 530 technology executives. Three in four employees at firms operating under a hybrid model say creativity is now a requirement in their day jobs.
Tech executives play an essential role in harvesting creative energy for improved operations, as efficiency from technology further spurs creativity. With bandwidth to iterate, tech executives can fuel experimentation, supporting their companies as they capitalize on the advantages of the upcoming creativity boom.
Companies that jump on this opportunity can also enjoy advantages in the constrained talent market. Half of employees at creative-leading companies feel highly engaged, the survey found.
The demand for creativity comes at a time when technology executives are being asked to deliver results. The charge on CIOs is to leverage the expanding IT budgets to help companies pick up the pace in economic growth. Forrester expects 2022 IT budgets to grow by 6%.
But it's not just expense and iteration that can drive creativity and better outcomes. IT departments can improve return on investment rates by finding new ways to use their existing systems, according to research published in the Information and Organization journal.
"As technologists, you're supporting products and experiences and operations. You're solving problems," said Ted Schadler, VP and principal analyst at Forrester. "Creativity will help you in every one of these areas where your contributions are vital to the success of your organization."
One company spurring creativity and innovation in their work methods is Adobe, according to Pattisall. The software firm considers creativity as part of its company DNA.
"When they go to create software and products and services for their clients that very much serve creative industries, they do so in a collaborative manner that allows for risk and allows for teams to come together in a set of conditions where they feel free to create," said Pattisall.
Another upside of a creative approach to IT operations is the fact that it does not mean additional costs.
"Creativity doesn't cost money," said Schadler. "You're not standing up a new organization. It's a different way of thinking and working that it's available to everybody."