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Employability Skills: Create and innovate

What do you need to be able to create and innovate?

A professional workplace isn't just made up of restrictive procedures and set ways of doing things (or we'd have easily automated that!) but require the people working there to take initiative and contribute their own personal touch to the job at hand. 

Creativity is the skill around coming up with solutions or ways of doing things that deviate from the standard structure or plan for a task. It's the ability to come up with new and innovative ideas that are a better solution to problems that you face while also making sure that they are a good fit for the workplace and the others there. 

Creativity and innovation can be thought of as:

Knowing where new ideas are needed

  • Recognising the need for new ideas and progressive innovation
  • Identifying where there may be better ways of doing things.
  • Understanding limitations and restrictions in a workplace and why they are there. These will be the major challenges of creativity in a professional setting. 

Finding new ideas

  • The ability to brainstorm and look at multiple different alternative solutions to a problem.
  • Identifying new ways of using existing tools or processes in different contexts. 
  • Discovering new tools and processes from the wider industry that may work with your tasks. 

Selecting the right innovation for implementation

  • Knowing the context and limitations of the workplace
  • Understanding the cost, risks, and issues with any new innovative idea
  • Considering the factors and needs of people and processes that your new creative solution is made for and how it will interfere with current active procedures.

When working and in the process of doing a task from start to finish you will usually be following a set of procedures. Creativity and innovation is looking at the path that you are taking in your work process and finding new or more efficient ways to get to your final goal.

Here are some tips on how to come up with new ideas:

  • Ask "what if?" What if you tried to do ____? 
  • Ask yourself if there is a better way of approaching the task. Is there a different way that might help avoid some of the problems your current method is encountering?
  • Look at other people in different workplaces or professions who do the same or similar tasks as you. Ask yourself if they're doing something different and if that is working. You can try attending seminars, talks, or watch online presentations such as TED talks from people working in other disciplines. 
  • Look at case studies of similar situations and look at what went wrong or what went right. 
  • Pick up a new hobby or think about your current hobbies. Are there any skills, processes, or actions that you can apply to your workplace problem?


Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education and Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. (2013). Core skills for work developmental framework.

Hughes, J.W. (2007). Environmental problem solving: A how-to guide. University of Vermont Press

Oxford University Careers Service. (n.d.) Creativity. Oxford University.

Oxford University Careers Service. (n.d.) Initiative. Oxford University.