2010 v 2020 – what’s changed in the way we think about creativity?

Chris Griffiths, creator of the Ayoa.com app, discusses how our approach and mindset surrounding creativity has evolved.


Have you ever heard the famous quote from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? The one where he says: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Well, while these may be the words of a fictional character, the sentiment still rings true today. Our world is developing at an explosive rate. Lost in the daily grind of our working world, it can be hard to truly appreciate the rate at which things have changed. After all, humans are spectacularly good at adapting.

Still, if there is a time to take pause and reflect, it is at the end of the decade. The 2020s are nearly upon us, and we’re all 10 years wiser. So what better time to take stock of how our approach and mindset surrounding creativity has changed? Let’s take a look back at what our views on creativity were like in the days of 2010, and how things compare now:

The rise of the successful startup

In 2010

Innovation was hardly seen as a bad thing back in 2010, but the startup world we know today was in its infancy. In 2010, global brands rarely began as startups. They were the exception, rather than the rule.

This means that back then, most workplaces were sceptical of new, bold ideas. It’s not surprising that smaller companies found going up against big brands daunting in 2010 – many of these world-leading brands had been in top positions for decades. Luckily, around this time, there were a few trailblazers prepared to put plans into action despite the risk. These innovative few planted the seeds for many of the global startups we know so well today.

In 2020

As we enter 2020, our corporate world looks staggeringly different. Start up’s now make up a large part of the world’s corporate makeup. Companies which started small are now household names – here are just a few of the companies to have sprung up since 2010: Snapchat, Spotify, Instagram,

Airbnb and Stripe. In the tech world, particularly, innovation has been the lifeblood, which has driven competition resulting in new, exciting products and even new sectors.

And how has this impacted our view of creativity? Well, with creative brands knocking some of the biggest companies in the world off the top spots, that innovative spark has become a much-coveted quality. It’s far easier for workplaces to be positive about new (and even crazy!) ideas when they’ve seen the potential pay-off played out on the global stage.

The death of the traditional office

In 2010

It may have been just 10 years ago, but back in 2010 working away from the office was seen as something reserved for the self-employed. In fact, working from home was often viewed as something to be joked about – why? Well, because people associated real work with the traditional, nine-to-five, office routine. Not to mention that for the most part, offices themselves looked fairly uniform – beige decor with little room for activities away from the desk.

Of course, this isn’t to say that working in an office limits creativity – rather that employers in 2010 were operating with a fixed mindset; they couldn’t see the potential of technology, and how it can harness the power of teams located all around the world.

In 2020

Today, things are very different. What’s an office? It could be a traditional workplace, but it’s equally likely to be a coffee shop or a living room. Companies have become far more accepting of remote workers – in fact, as of 2019, 66% of companies allow remote work. This is big news for creativity; not only does it reflect a more open and flexible mindset, it means workforces can be made up of individuals from all around the globe.

Plus, offering remote work has been linked to greater work-life balance. When we spend too long doing concentrated work, not only do we deplete our focus, we diminish our ability to be creative.

More time away from the office means more time for creative thought. Also, with office decor becoming increasingly important – more and more businesses are creating comfortable spaces for people to take time away from their desks. So it seems with greater flexibility, comes increased creativity!

The robots are coming


In 2010, the biggest technological hype surrounded the release of the first iPad. If someone had asked about AI back in those days, they’d mostly be answered by blank expressions. That’s because the ideas of robots, and certainly robots doing our jobs, was not common knowledge. Of course, this might have been different for experts in the automation industry – but for the average Joe, mundane and repetitive jobs were just a part of the deal.

And what did this mean from a creativity standpoint? Well, for one thing it meant that often repetitive tasks were simply a necessary evil. Consequently, time and concentration was given over to this non-creative work, meaning less time for brainstorming and less time for being creative overall.


Oh how the tide has changed – and it’s going to keep changing, too. Automation is sweeping the job market, and it’s only going to get bigger. In fact, 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up in jobs that don’t yet exist.

The prevalence of automation has a had a huge on knock-on effect, the world economic forum predicted in 2018 that by 2020 the most in demand workplace skills would be:complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. They weren’t wrong, with automation taking over the mundane and repetitive jobs, we have more time than ever to be creative. In fact, many project that jobs of the future will be creativity-oriented above all else.​

We’ve certainly experienced a lot of changes over the last decade – especially when it comes to how we think of creativity. Who knows what other changes are on their way, but with the second coming of the roaring twenties officially upon us, if one thing is for sure, it’s that innovative developments are inevitable.

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