Creativity Skills Training ROI (Return on Investment)

Many organizations, such as 3M, Frito-Lay, and Texas Instruments, have introduced systematic creativity activities into their training and production processes with outstanding ROI results. Frito-Lay, for instance, reports documented cost savings over a four-year period of almost $600 million due to their creativity training programs (Morrison, 1997 — Cited in 101 Activities for Teaching Creativity and Problem Solving, by Arthur VanGundy, 2005). Examples of creativity skills training ROI include:

  • The Wall Street Journal reported that a two-year in-house creativity course at General Electric resulted in a 60% increase in patentable concepts.
  • Participants in Pittsburgh Plate Glass creativity training showed a 300% increase in viable ideas compared with those who elected not to take the course.
  • At Sylvania, several thousand employees took a 40-hour course in creative problem-solving. ROI: $20 for every $1 spent.
  • Hewlett-Packard invested over $2 billion in R&D in 1999 and generated more than 1,300 patent applications. Net revenue: $42.37 billion. (Source: HP 2000 Annual report)

David Tanner, former Director of the DuPont Center for Creativity and Innovation, gives examples in his book, Igniting Innovation, Through the Power of Creative Thinking, of how to reduce costs through the use of creative thinking techniques:

A lateral thinking creativity tool is escape. You escape from limiting assumptions that you take for granted. A corporate IT department used this tool for original ideas to reduce costs. One of the things they took for granted was: “We reduce costs by spending less money.” They escaped from this with the provocation “Let’s spend more money.” An idea that paid off was, “Why don’t we spend more money, but on fewer vendors? We’ll reduce the number of vendors. We’ll place larger orders to some vendors, and we’ll get better price breaks.” This led to over $1 million dollars a year savings, based upon a one-hour creativity session.

Dupont’s investment in creative skills training and putting the techniques into practice helped save more than $5,000,000 over a ten-year period.

See also:

Adobe Study (2016) a Wake-up Call to Invest in Creativity in Business and Education

What Makes Creative Companies Outperform Their Competitors (Adobe 2015 study)?

Unlock your creativity with whole bain thinking


ROI on Soft Skills Training

High-Performance Work Practices…

* skills training
* coaching and performance appraisals tightly linked to compensation
* cross-functional teams
* involve employees in corporate decision making & production processes

…and how they pay off

If the average company implements these work practices, within a year it can expect (per employee):
$27,044 more in sales
$3,814 more in profits
$18,641 more in market value

Source: Mark Huselid. “The Impact of Human Resource Management Practices on Turnover, Productivity, and Corporate Financial Performance.” Academy of Management Journal. July 1995.

Cultivating Creativity and Innovation

Skills in critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration and innovation are crucial for achieving success in a global Creative Economy. Here’s how we can help:

Creativity Workshops for Business



About the Author:

Linda is founder of Creativity at Work and co-author of Orchestrating Collaboration at Work. She helps executives and their teams develop creativity, innovation, and leadership capabilities, through coaching, training and consulting. Linda brings a multi-disciplinary approach to learning and development by leveraging arts-based practices to foster creativity at work, and design thinking as a strategy for innovation.