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Creativity to generate value in 2020 and beyond


The year is coming to an end. Indeed it is time to reflect on what has happened over the last twelve months around the world – which seems to be a turmoil; and, to look forward to 2020 and beyond.


The cover of this year’s edition of The World in 2020 (The Economist) invites readers to have their vision checked, identifying the global issues, events and subjects that will be protagonists of 2020: from American’s presidential election and the next stage of #Brexit, to the Expo in Dubai, technological excitements and AI, the Olympics in Tokyo and the fight to climate change and recession.


In the midst of this highly uncertain global outlook, our ability to see with clarity and focus will be indeed tested. Not only to identify the best path for sorting out the challenges on the table in 2020, but to be able to firmly shape a new horizon for sustainable and inclusive growth for both economies and businesses, understanding in a deeper way people’s aspirations, facilitating dialogue and co-creation of value with multiple stakeholders in the frame of the SDG; and developing a more human-center approach that incorporates technology and AI to make our lives better.


How can businesses and organizations build future proven solutions in the uncertain 2020 outlook?


At Economia Creativa we believe that solving the current complex challenges we face today requires a fresh approach to leadership and sustainability. We call this new approach Creativity for Sustainable Leadership. The aim of this new paradigm is for leaders to activate their organization’s talent and scale up an open and collaborative culture to navigate the unknown through the power of applied creativity to generate value, innovative and effective solutions, product and services; while fostering environmental, social, cultural, economic and business sustainability.


Why organizations have to activate their talent now more than ever?


As we all know, global markets, political and economic outlook is very uncertain and volatile; however this also means that the players who are able to fine-tuned their strategies, with flexibility and adaptability, will profit from huge opportunities for growth. Creativity -and creative thinking- is (often) the missing ingredient for organizations and businesses to being able to pursue these market opportunities.

Creativity -and creative thinking- is (often) the missing ingredient for organizations and businesses to being able to pursue market opportunities.

According to 22nd Annual CEO’s Survey by PWC, despite the super-abundant (big) data and information available to decision makers with a simple click, there is still today –in 2019- an information gap (between the actual information that CEO’s and decision makers would like to receive and the one that actually they get). It seems that organizations are, to put it simple, lost in the matrix. Organizations are struggling to transform data into actions due to a shortage of skilled talent to integrate and extract value from data. A total of 34% of CEO's are extremely concerned about availability of key skills in their organizations. From their view, this is largely impacting their ability to innovate effectively (see figure below); increasing their people costs more than expected; affecting the quality standard or customer experience; making their organizations miss market opportunities and growth targets.




Organizations are struggling to transform data into actions due to a shortage of skilled talent to integrate and extract value from data.

How can creativity contribute to bridge this skill and information gap?


#Creativity is essentially the ability to connect things in a meaningful way, to create valuable novel ideas, products or services that solve actual human needs. Therefore, developing individual, teams and organizational creativity may enable organizations to ‘make sense’ of the myriad of data and information that is available to them, however not efficiently utilized yet.


Economia Creativa has worked applying Creativity for Sustainable Leadership on projects for both public and private institutions across sectors and geographies delivering transformational and actionable solutions to their challenges.


We firmly believe that everyone is creative! It is only needed to enable the right environment and organization culture through a suitable strategy, training, coaching and tools to harnessing everyone’s creativity to be incorporated into the innovation strategy.

One of the common denominators across industries and sectors is the need to translate data into stories, to find the right language for different target audiences and stakeholders

We find –like Global CEO’s- that one of the common denominators across industries and sectors is the need to translate data into stories, to find the right language for different target audiences and stakeholders; to be able to extract meaning from the data and facilitate the co-creation of value and solutions to concrete challenges. We have applied creativity to build meaningful communication strategies and #storytelling to unlock innovation in sectors such as health and wellbeing (physiotherapy), agricultural digitization, EU Funds (see our portfolio), among others.

Despite nowadays most of the challenges are global, yet it remains also essential to understand local specificities and to enable organizational and departmental collaboration across cultures and geographies

In other cases, we see that despite nowadays most of the challenges are global, yet it remains also essential to understand local specificities and to enable organizational and departmental collaboration across cultures and geographies. To address the latter case, we have worked with organizations (from corporations, Startups and entrepreneurs, to NGOs and European Commission) through capacity building workshops to develop their creativity (beyond boundaries such as nationality, culture or occupational background), harnessing intrapersonal and interpersonal skills, creating the right atmosphere for ideas to flow to build innovative solutions applicable to their actual context.


Mapping opportunities and developing the ability to connect not obvious clues to outline win-win partnership scenarios among multiple and often divergent –a priori- stakeholders provides also a competitive advantage by maximizing the vectors global-local and melting multiple actors needs' in one flexible solution. (see our recent project Mapping funding opportunities for ASEF).


It is crucial for businesses to test their vision, like The Economist The World in 2020 is suggesting, in order not to end in a collapse such as Thomas Cook did earlier this year. Nevertheless Thomas Cook bankruptcy was caused by several factors; their inability to cope with the pace of the digital age and closely understand the actual behavioural changes of travellers is one of the fundamental causes.

In this super-fast society it is important to slow down and listen with attention not only what data is telling us, but also to incorporate people’s views and creativity in the process of value creation in order to build more robust, profitable and sustainable solutions.

In this super-fast society it is important to slow down and listen with attention not only what data is telling us, but also to incorporate people’s views, creativity and insight (consumers, clients, users, suppliers, teams, etc.) in the process of value creation (through creativity workshops, focus groups, innovation labs, feasibility studies, ethnographic research, etc.) in order to build more robust, profitable and sustainable solutions.


In the wider picture, to tackle global challenges such as climate change, triggering creativity and mutual understanding is a necessary condition to shape the new ways of living, working and using resources that not only reduces emissions and waste, but also can be a catalyst of a more humanistic and sustainable way of living –of the ultimate value of living!- altogether, shaping a truly creative society.


This is our vision: Creativity for Sustainable Leadership, to generate value in 2020 and beyond.


Article written by Antonio Carlos Ruiz Soria


He is Economía Creativa founder and managing director, inspirational speaker and author of 'Creativity for Sustainability and Leadership'.

He advices both public and private sector organizations on scaling creativity across the organization, enabling co-creation with users and stakeholders, digital transformation, shaping communication strategies and extracting key insight from data to identify and map opportunities across geographies and cultures.

He has trained and delivered inspirational speeches to unlock businesses and organizations' creativity in more than 16 countries in Europe and Africa