Understanding the impact of global creative economy
The “creative economy” has become an essential part of the global economy during the past few years, as countries have realized the importance of knowledge-based industries. This includes the creative industries, which play a huge role in developing many countries, contributing to the gross domestic product and providing job opportunities. The recently concluded World Conference on Creative Economy, hosted by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth, is an indication of a new beginning to promote the UAE’s position on the world competitive index and reflects the wise leadership’s vision to build a brighter future.
In 2021, the creative economy stepped into the spotlight amid unprecedented disruption generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have witnessed countries from across the globe navigate their directions to new ways of working and living post-pandemic. The effects of the pandemic urge the need to be creative on how we imagine the future and how we shape it. While evaluating creative economy across the world, we realize that producing economic growth and leading economic development is the pattern of economic activity based on utilizing creative assets. The creative industries are the goods and services that use creativity and intellectual capital as their primary input.
Creativity and innovation
Whether you write poems, paint beautiful paintings, or create interesting designs you are considered to be a creative. A creative can do all sorts of things with their mind and hands. However, if you invent a new artistic technique, a new genre in literature, or an entirely fresh approach to doing business you are considered to be an innovator. An innovator will come up with something completely new; something that no one has ever done before. The creative economy is what bridges a creative and innovator to become one as connecting creativity and innovation is the best way to add value to any enterprise. Innovation cannot exist without creativity; creativity is its starting point. Before a person became an inventor, he must be a creative thinker. You need to accumulate a large base of knowledge, and combine it with you imagination, for you to produce a unique outcome.
Innovation is part of the pillar “United in Knowledge” of Vision 2021 which focuses on innovative Emiratis building a competitive economy. The UAE has set steps and initiatives to encourage innovation and creativity. The UAE maintains its top position as the most innovative country in the Arab world for several reasons. The main purposes behind encouraging innovation would be implementing a sustainable investment plan in the UAE’s human capital, driving economic development away from the oil sector, enhancing the UAE’s global competitiveness, and introducing corporate methodologies and a culture for innovation.
In addition to technology enabling the creation of new industries facilitating new jobs, it may end the need for human involvement in some tasks. The challenge isn’t the technology — it’s to be creative in reimagining how to use it to generate fresh opportunities, value and growth. The technological advances aren’t derived from one-off moments of genius, they are a combination of existing ideas in new ways to optimize and improve on what’s come before. Even AI itself is an example of this — the result of humans creatively combining centuries of research with decades of experimentation.
What distinguishes this sector from others is the advantage of the continuity and escalation of job opportunities. The creative industries depend mainly on human creativity in all its forms. Many of the big companies in the UAE have begun to invest in automation. They have started implementing the use of software robots that provide automation for more menial tasks, therefore giving actual working professionals at these organizations more capacity to focus on the more creative side of things. Therefore, the cultural and creative industries sectors are one of the most important pillars of the emirate’s agenda to create job opportunities, in addition to the role of the creative sector in promoting the culture of entrepreneurship as most innovators tend to establish small and micro-sized companies.
Creativity and climate change
WCCE recognized the need to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth, foster innovation and provide opportunities, benefits and empowerment for all and respect for all human rights. In order to control the effects of climate change, the UAE is controlling emissions, reducing flaring of natural gas, increasing energy efficiency and undertaking many other steps. The UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative is a national drive to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, making the Emirates the first Middle East and North Africa nation to do so.
Creativity is using one’s imagination to add value to an idea. To be successful, we must know the value of ideas and the market for them. For a creative economy to flourish, we need to have competitive markets. Moreover, we also need to be willing to take risks and invest in good ideas. The creative economy focuses on human imagination and talent as opposed to land, capital, and labor. As human creativity becomes a base for living holistically and harmoniously, the impact of creativity on the world becomes imperative.
• John Howkins is a British author and leading strategist on creativity and innovation.