Creativity was not always highly regarded. In the past people were admired for knowing the religious books and other ancient teachings by heart. Artists as a rule prided themselves in faithfully copying and keeping alive age-old designs and imageries and music.
The oldworld valued interpreters—revivalists—adapters.
As a rule creativity and originality were viewed as heresy and discouraged. The truly creative thinkers—reformers—artists—others struggled in inhospitable climates. Many gained fame long after their deaths.
To this day most North American and European industries value employees who are content to do their work and not rock the boat. Until now this worked well because employees were not inclined to be innovative.
But things are changing. Creativity is valued more and more. For example U.S. corporations such as Kodak and IBM and government agencies have set up "offices of innovation" and "creativity workshops" to help employees develop creative skills. "Creativity training" itself is big business.
In the coming years creativity and innovation will be valued assets in all areas of telespheral life. Here are some of the reasons:
—Samuel M. Ehrenhalt—regional commissioner of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics in New York—writes: "We are approaching a historic moment in American economic development. [By around 1990] the number of professional, managerial and technical workers will exceed the number of blue-collar workers. That will mark the end of an era that began in the early days of the 20th century, when manual workers succeeded farm workers as the most numerous group among the employed . . . While the workers of the new economy are diverse, what is common to most is the requirement for education and training, a broader latitude for creativity, independent thought and action . . . Their stock in trade is knowledge, their working tools, ideas."1
—Today's young employees entering the job market are better educated and more demanding than workers in the past. These new generations grew up in reciprocal home and school environments where their opinions and initiatives were valued. They respond to consensus —not leadership. "Workers' participation movements" and "participatory management" are efforts toward workers' greater involvement in all areas of the work environment. These young people have hightech attention spans and will not long put up with passive noncreative work.
—In our age of rapid recontextings ideas—policies—products— designs degrade quickly. To develop new designs and new products corporations spend billions yearly on research and development—which in turn rely on imagination and inventiveness. Government agencies also spend large sums of money setting up "brainstorming sessions" to come up with new ideas and policies for dealing with a rapidly changing world environment. Here again creativity is the most valued asset.
— Finally more and more routine work is now performed by smart machines: computers—supercomputers—expert systems—-ultraintelli-gent systems (AI)—automated office machines—robots. These machines are getting smarter every day. In a few years they will perform most bureaucratic—managerial—secretarial—administrative—clerical functions. They will execute these tasks more efficiently and rapidly than human workers. The telespheral economy will need fewer and fewer people for repetitive noncreative jobs. The attributes that are increasingly valued are innovation—imagination—creativity.