ROI for creativity in business

Investing in creativity pays off for businesses

In our fast paced times of change, there is a broad consensus that creativity is needed in the workplace. But creativity as a soft skill seems seems hard to measure. Business leaders want to know if it actually pays of to invest in creativity. What is the ROI for creativity in business?

Adobe’s study, State of Create 2016, presents valuable insights into the answer to that question. Productivity and ultimately financial success can be increased by 78% by investing in creativity. Therefore, creativity makes for good business.

investing in creativity

Adobe: State of Create 2016

Why does investing in creativity lead to financial success?

Even though for CEOs creativity is now the most important leadership quality for success in business (see study by IBM), the reality is that we don’t have enough creative people in our companies and businesses. Only 50% of people believe they are creative. And even less (only 31 percent) feel like they are living up to their creative potential.

This is why organizations that invest in creativity, and provide resources, tools, and an environment that fosters creativity increase their financial success. By implementing creative strategies and a creative framework, often through professional development, employees can learn how to be more creative


Creativity is good for business

Adobe State of Create 2016


Creative leadership leads to financial success

According to a recent McKinsey study, creative leaders outperform their peers on key financial metrics:

  • 67 percent had above-average organic revenue growth.
  • 70 percent had above-average total return to shareholders (TRS).
  • 74 percent had above-average net enterprise value or NEV/forward EBITDA

These insights are corroborated by another McKinsey study, which shows that the fastest growing companies are particularly strong at developing new products, services, or business models.


Examples of companies that invest in creativity

  • Frito-Lay was able to save $500M over a 5 year period by implementing creativity training.
  • A two-year creativity course at General Electric resulted in a 60% increase in patentable concepts.
  • Participants in a Pittsburgh plate glass creativity training showed a 300% increase in viable ideas compared with those who elected not to take the course.
  • Several thousand employees of Sylvania took a 40-hour training course in creative problem solving, and the company reported generating a $20 profit on each dollar spent for the training.

J.D. Couger who compared the return of investment of creativity improvement with other investments found that the ROI of creativity in the typical company far exceed that of R&D programs and could be as high as 300% (Source:  Elias G. Carayannis, Jean-Jacques: Leading and Managing Creators, Inventors, and Innovators.)

Both, creative team building events or ongoing creativity training, are steps towards growth and financial success.