The lists. You are familiar with them, because in recent years you have been hit with them tremendously hard. Those of the World Economic Forum and Linkedin Learning are by far the best known. But there are many others that aim to make you wiser. They all answer that one crucial question: which skills are really the most important for the future?

“It’s damn hard to make predictions. And certainly about the future!”. A funny, and precisely because of that, very witty statement that — as is often the case — is attributed to a whole series of well-known people. Professional futurists do not talk about ‘the future’ but about ‘futures’ (yes, in plural). And these futures are a series of plausible scenarios that can vary greatly according to a wide range of variable elements. Strictly speaking, there are always a number of certainties, fixed or recurring elements, on which you can build. …


Photo by Yogerdra Singh

We are a little confused these days. And that isn’t surprising. A few decades ago, you could bank on it that your diploma would land you a beautiful career. What you had learned from books and lecture halls at university or college was the same knowledge that allowed you to carry your weight professionally. For years on end, even.

Those days are gone forever. Everything has changed. Even so much so that change itself has become the only constant factor. Technology has taken over from us for the most part. …


Not that long ago, a somewhat mysterious cloud shrouded creativity on the work floor. Everybody seemed to have their own definition and understanding of the word. The connotation with more artistic professions or (applied) art forms was never far away. Designers, copywriters, architects, film makers, musicians, … yes, those by definition are creative professions and creativity belongs there. Of course.

Next to that, there is the fact that creativity is very hard to measure or quantify, which has caused the relationship with the regular business world — where everything revolves around productivity, efficiency and measurable results — to be uneasy…


The Lightyear One, a Dutch ‘solar’ electric car

Am I in love? Well, I must at least admit that my heart spontaneously started beating faster when I first saw the advertisement of this beautiful car. Strange, because everyone who knows me could hardly call me a petrolhead. Or perhaps that’s exactly the reason why: there is no question, no trace, no dirty smell of ‘petrol’ here at all.

Fascinated, I look at the image of the Lightyear One and can’t resist clicking on the photo that sends me directly to the website. “Always charging in the sun. Longest range. Most sustainable.”Yes, I’m in love. Because this is no…


Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols performing. (Graham Wood/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Imagine. You’re a rebellious youngster, willing to express your emotions through rock music. Unfortunately, you don’t have the skills to play any instrument and your vocal talents are limited to just chase away the birds. Now what?

Sure, nowadays there are options. And they’re vast, because digital has radically innovated the way music is made today. But that’s not my point. Let me take you at least 40 years back, say mid-seventies, where successful rock bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Deep Purple, The Who, Jethro Tull and Yes (to only name a few) were all composed by very talented singers…


Bam! There he is again. The fourth time already in three weeks time, because that’s exactly how long John works in your team. You started calling him ‘Jolly John’, but only in your head of course. You can hardly blame him for a lack of commitment. And always with the same enthusiasm, the same childish and disarming smile on his face he walks into your office, “Boss, I’ve been thinking a while and suddenly I had this brilliant idea”… Not again, you think. But you keep quiet. Creative leadership and stuff.

Defer your judgment, listen and ask questions, lift on…


“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” A famous quote, attributed to Albert Einstein, that contains a lot of truth. It’s no secret that, whatever message you want to convey, the fewer words you have to use, the better.

But how far can you go? In how many words can you tell a whole story?

According to Hemingway, that is perfectly possible in no more than six words. Most people will undoubtedly frown at this crazy idea. …


If you think brilliant ideas just simply drop out of the sky, you are wrong. A recent scientific study of Brian Lucas and Loran Nordgren shows that the best ideas actually occur only after the ‘dip’. So creativity is far and foremost a matter of persistence.

During my career as a designer many years ago, I often experienced this. Long hours, evenings and sometimes even nights in which you are toiling for that ‘reasonably well’ concept for the customer, to bring that ‘ok it is a nice idea and it does have something’ to a higher level. Because it was…


If there is one word that has been hot in the business world the last few years, then it is creativity. We like to state with alacrity how important we think it is. A life necessity even, in these times of exponential changes. In many vacancies they are looking diligently for ‘daredevils with ideas’, born ‘out-of-the-box thinkers’ or even ‘rebels and troublemakers’. We nod yes fervently when we listen to lecture number umpteenth by some creative evangelist. And even the chairman of the country’s most archaic union announces with gleeful eyes he wants to play for stakes on ‘fresh new…


At 8:30 sharp, the door opens and they enter the training room as one solid block. Twelve they are, the perfect dozen. I can’t deny they took me by surprise, because at this very moment I’m still struggling to arouse a conversation between my laptop and the beamer. “Welcome everyone”, I stammer a bit, “Take a seat, I’m with you in five minutes.” Never did I have a more punctual group of participants, as they normally drop in one by one somewhere between 8:30 and 9:15. My request to take place is being followed as a military command and less…

Walter Vandervelde

Professor, speaker and trainer in Business Creativity — Author of the book ‘When the Box is the Limit’

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