A study a few years ago by the American Psychological Association found an interesting relationship between increased creativity and living overseas. Students in various business schools were evaluated using common tests for creativity, and the more overseas experience they had, the more creative they tended to be.
It was not totally clear from the study which leads to which. That is, does living abroad help develop creativity, or are creative people simply more likely to try living overseas?
But it seems likely that those who have lived overseas have had a chance to sharpen their creative skills. First, by living in another culture they have been exposed to new ideas and different ways of thinking. Creatives with a stronger foundation like that are in a better position to develop new ideas for you that set you apart from your competitors. Second, they have learned how to adapt, and that ability to fit into a new culture will help them as they take on diverse projects for you. Lastly, they have realized there is not just one way of thinking out there…even if they were raised in a pretty homogeneous environment, their experiences overseas have helped them see new ways of addressing familiar issues, and helped them realize they do not always have the right, or the only, answer. There are probably plenty of other advantages to this sort of background.
This can help you when you’re recruiting new employees. The study’s authors wrote:
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