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Creativity Pays: Global Survey From Adobe Links Being Creative to Stronger Personal and Professional Success

Eighty-five percent of U.S. respondents say creativity makes them better leaders, parents and students

On the eve of Adobe MAX 2016, the world’s premier creativity conference, Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) today released global survey findings that show investing in creativity pays off with tangible benefits – from higher income to greater national competitiveness and productivity. The report, “State of Create: 2016,” which surveyed more than 5,000 adults across five countries, reveals people who identify as creators globally report household income that is 13 percent higher than non-creators. Globally, more than two-thirds believe that being creative helps make people better workers, leaders, parents and students.

“An investment in creativity and design is simply good business,” said Mala Sharma, vice president and general manager of Creative Cloud at Adobe. “Creativity and productivity go hand in hand, but investing in creativity isn’t on the agenda for enough of today’s leaders. This survey provides a big wake-up call to businesses that they need to think differently and give employees the tools and freedom to be creative.”

U.S. respondents rated the importance of creativity higher than the global average across many dimensions shown below. Key findings from U.S. respondents include:

Creativity delivers benefits for creators, economy and society

Creativity has permeated every aspect of society and has become vital to financial and economic success.

  • - A large majority of U.S. respondents agrees that being creative is valuable to the economy (77 percent) and society (82 percent).
  • - Being creative drives self-worth. Creators are more likely than non-creators to identify themselves as innovative (+27 percentage points), confident (+21 percentage points), problem solvers (+11 percentage points) and happy (+15 percentage points).
  • - Being creative pays: Based on their reported household income, U.S. creators earn 17 percent more than non-creators.
  • - Yet only five in 10 respondents (55 percent) describe themselves as creative and 44 percent say they are living up to their creative potential.

Creativity and design make for good business

Creativity’s benefits are not just for individuals – businesses benefit from prioritizing creativity and good design.

  • - Most U.S. respondents believe businesses that invest in creativity are more likely to foster innovation (88 percent), be competitive (88 percent), provide better customer experience (88 percent), have satisfied customers (89 percent) and be financially successful (85 percent).
  • - Respondents also say such businesses are more likely to have happier employees (88 percent) and increased employee productivity (88 percent).
  • - Eighty-three percent agree there is increasing pressure to be productive rather than creative at work. However, six in 10 (62 percent) say people are increasingly expected to think creatively at work.
  • - Eighty-three percent of respondents also agree that it is important for businesses to focus on good design. More than half (57 percent) say that in the past year alone, they have paid more for a product or service that had good design.

Governments and schools have a creativity imperative

Governments that invest in creativity are viewed more positively by U.S. respondents, but there is a clear disconnect between the high value society places on creativity and the lack of investment in creative education.

  • - U.S. respondents overwhelmingly perceive that a government that invests in creativity is more likely to increase productivity (89 percent), foster innovation (87 percent), have happier citizens (86 percent) and be competitive (85 percent).
  • - Eighty-three percent of respondents believe that unlocking creative potential is key to economic growth. Yet 79 percent feel the U.S. is not living up to its creative potential.
  • - Seventy-one percent of respondents believe that creativity is being stifled by the educational system, and only 41 percent feel that the government encourages schools to teach students to be creative.
  • - A large majority wants schools to do more to foster creativity – by prioritizing “learning by doing” over direct instruction (85 percent), developing a wide variety of student skills over specialized skills (79 percent) and teaching creativity over memorization (78 percent).1

Japan seen as the most creative country

In addition to their views on creativity, respondents were asked for their opinions on the most creative country and city in the five countries surveyed. Globally, Japan is regarded as the most creative country (34 percent) and Tokyo the most creative city (26 percent), followed by the U.S. (28 percent) and New York (23 percent), respectively.

About the Adobe “State of Create: 2016” Study

The “State of Create: 2016” study findings came from an online survey of 5,026 adults (18+ years of age) in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Japan. Research was conducted from Sept. 19, 2016 to Oct. 3, 2016. The report was commissioned by Adobe and produced by the research firm Edelman Intelligence. The margin of error for the U.S. sample is +/- 3.1 percentage points and for the global sample is +/-1.4 percentage points. This study builds on research conducted among comparable audiences in March – April of 2012.

For more information about the Adobe State of Create Study, please visit

Learn more about Adobe MAX 2016 announcements at

About Adobe

Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more information, visit


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