Welcome to the innovation age.

There’s a growing appetite for creativity in today’s world. We’re at a point in time where innovation and creativity are becoming the most important qualities in not only individuals, but companies, cities, and organizations. Robotics and computers are projected to take 45% of jobs in the coming few decades, leaving us to do the work that requires a more intellectual aspect. There’s also a growing number of challenges facing us as a population, that will need creative solutions, such as inequality, food and water crises, and climate change.

We’re more than capable of stepping up to the task.

We’re already in the process of making free education available all around the world through MOOCs; the internet is providing us a more mobile and social environment, making collaboration far easier; and the rapid progress of technology is making everything more accessible and economical.

 So how can you take advantage and make your unique contribution to the world?

 Educate yourself.

Get rid of the notion that creativity is reserved for the elite, being creative is a fundamental function of the human brain, and we use it all the time. You need to believe in you own ability, and invest in your potential, if you don’t, how can you expect others to? Find your purpose, your passion, and learn everything you can. There are courses aplenty that will help you in whatever field you’re interested in, most of them free, so take the time to feed your mind. Check Coursera, EdX, SkillShare, Udemy, NovoEd, or FutureLearn to find something that applies to you.

Seek out like-minded people.

Surround yourself with the type of people you admire and respect, that you could imagine collaborating with, or that might inspire you and push you to do better work. It’s easy to find people on Twitter or Linkedin, through Meetup or local conferences and events. Introduce yourself and get in with the crowd, learn from them, and bring a little friendly competition to the table.

Do it in steps.

The ease of publishing details and letting people in on your process is one of the great differences between now and 20 years ago. Back in the day, people had to spend a lot of money just to get the final product noticed, it was a long process from forming the idea to the finished item, and not many eyes saw the details in between. Now you can share each step to the world with ease, and adapt to changes as they happen far more effectively — it will help get your fans involved, they will feel more like they are a part of what you’re making, and it helps to keep your name in the conversation over time.

Don’t be a troll.

Patent hoarders or patent trolls, whatever you choose to call them, stunt collective creativity; while other companies and individuals choose the open source model, a more share and share-a-like principle. To the extent you can, you should go with the latter. Sharing promotes creativity and innovation throughout the world, look at Wikipedia, Linux, EdX, Arduino, GitHub and others. It’s never a good idea to fight change, so allow others to build on your ideas so they can become something new. You shouldn’t think of this as stealing, it’s progress.

Roll with the punches.

Don Quijote once remarked “the dogs are barking, it means we’re moving forward.” One drawback of everybody having a voice, is that there will eventually be some cruel words thrown in your direction. Take it as a sign you’re making progress, people are taking notice, you’re pushing the boundaries. You can’t expect everything to be positive, so you’ll need to learn how to take a punch, as Pat Benatar sang, “Hit me with your best shot.”

Be a teacher.

Be open and let others know your secrets. Give back so that others can do the same. If we’re going to solve the issues facing us, and make meaningful and positive changes, we need to act as a global collaborative. We need to build a creative society, one that takes steps forward early and often. This can’t happen if we feel like we need to keep our ideas and inventions to ourselves, so take any chance you get to make someone else better at what you do. teaching also promotes learning on your part, a great accelerator for learning a topic quickly is to try to teach it, you’ll panic often but it works!

We face issues that we’ve never encountered before, the solutions we’ve used previously don’t apply or are outdated. Yet we have more opportunities and outlets for our abilities than ever before, which gives us no excuse for sitting back. Now, not all of these tips will apply to everyone, so pick and choose what works for you, but take advantage of your skills, of your opportunities, of your innate creative mind. Create the world that you want to live in, and have fun doing it.