Change the Inevitable

Creativity World Forum puts Brabant on the world map

Creativity and innovation as the driving force of social change. That is the idea behind BrabantDC, a network that connects creative thinkers and doers. As one of the eleven ‘Districts of Creativity’, Brabant has earned a place on the world map as a top creative region. Brabant’s efforts include organising the Creativity World Forum 2019. This international event will take place on 21, 22 and 23 October, bringing together approximately two thousand professionals from every discipline and from every corner of the world. The theme of the event is ‘Change the Inevitable’.

The world around us is becoming increasingly complex and paradoxical. Major social issues are truly crying out for a change. Promising innovations and technological developments are offering more opportunities, but at the same time, societal divisions are also rising in terms of education level, health, well-being, prosperity and (economic) prospects. Solutions that used to meet requirements no longer match up with today’s reality. That means it is necessary for us to look for new solutions. This requires a different approach both in the way we think and in the way we move forward, in particular. BrabantDC believes that the power of creativity and imagination can make all the difference. “The fact that BrabantDC is part of a global network shows that creativity is being taken more and more seriously,” expressed Flemish artist, theatre director and programme designer Lucas De Man.

“We have to stand on each other’s shoulders, working toward our shared ambitions because we truly need each other.”

Creative networks are crucial

“There is an incredibly high value in creativity,” said Christine De Lille, professor of Innovation Networks at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and chairman of the plenary programme team of Creativity World Forum 2019. According to De Lille, it is no longer enough to simply maintain the status quo. “In order to create a better world, we have to gravitate toward new solutions. Creativity is key here, as well as cooperation. We can only truly make a difference if we work together. For this, we need an innovative approach. The old ways of networking, which are all about how ‘I’ can progress, no longer work. New forms of cooperation need to emerge, in which we stand on each other’s shoulders,  working toward our shared ambitions because we truly need each other. One great example is a project in which our students are working together with retailers to help ensure that they are future-proof. Thanks to the benefits creativity has provided, this project has now been scaled up to include eleven labs across the Netherlands. Creative networks such as BrabantDC are desperately needed. They act as a kind of roadblock, encouraging you to explore off the beaten path.”

Creativity is crucial

As a part of the international Districts of Creativity Network, BrabantDC has been one of the eleven most creative and innovative regions in the world since 2014. Together, these regions are contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. De Lille remarked, “The social issues that we face here exist everywhere, but they do not always play out in the same way. The circular economy, for example, is very different here than in Sri Lanka. Recycling is already taking place there consistently due to soaring material costs and the low hourly wages. The major question is what we can learn from each other in order to mutually develop an innovative approach that contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals. Local solutions can often impact the rest of the world. Creativity is key here.”

‘The power of creativity is that it can tell everyone’s story from a myriad of perspectives’

Sharing stories

According to Lucas De Man, the power of creativity is that it can tell everyone’s story. “These stories are told from a myriad of perspectives. No one has the answers to the big questions. There are a hundred thousand stories as to how the world began and there is no one absolute truth. The key is telling stories that provide insight, based on the concept that people are allowed to be human, with all their vulnerabilities and insecurities. As creatives, we have a very important role in this process, at a time when the big stories are crumbling and the small stories are becoming increasingly more important.”

According to De Man, who is also making a contribution to the Creativity World Forum, the world cannot be manufactured. “But everything we do makes an impact. I also don’t believe in a better world, so to speak. We will enter into a different world, which will carry with it both positive and negative aspects.”

Pressure cooker

Participants in the Creativity World Forum will experience the excitement first hand. For three incredible days, they will delve straight into the pressure cooker, gaining new insights and perspectives aimed at facing the challenges of today and tomorrow. With its inspiring speakers, surprising encounters and stimulating work sessions. BrabantDC has created  an innovative programme in which participants truly work on concrete cases that concern both Brabant as well as other areas around the globe. They will be challenged to come up with creative and innovative solutions on pressing issues. “Creativity cannot be summoned. It is a matter of doing and of creating together,” said De Lille. “That is why we have chosen an interactive programme. There will be some challenging work for the participants – finding themselves, taking a good, hard look in the mirror and having to deliver results in order to make a difference. The local hubs in Brabant that deal with specific cases, are key in this process. For them, the end of the Creativity World Forum actually represents the beginning of the journey. The key impact that we are striving to make certainly also lies in ‘follow-up actions’.”

‘Creativity that doesn’t contain a question is marketing, creativity that contains a question is content.  That is precisely the art of it all: telling a story in order to ask a question’

“One of the great aspects of the event is that Brabant is not afraid to show its vulnerable side by asking specific questions,” said De Man. “Creativity that doesn’t contain a question is marketing, creativity that contains a question is content. That is precisely the art of it all: telling a story in order to ask a question. Our ability to communicate with each other is what makes us human. In my opinion, it is the essence of our existence. As long as we continue talking to each other and asking questions, we can continue creating new solutions. After all, the world has yet to stand still.”

Changing the inevitable: it is possible

The Creativity World Forum programme revolves around the major paradoxes in society, based on the Sustainable Development Goals. Under the theme ‘Change the Inevitable’, BrabantDC aims to show that it is indeed possible to create a real change in the world. Although coming up with solutions for social  issues can feel impossible at times, the tide does seem to be turning. Across the globe, a growing number of individuals and groups are devoting their efforts to finding alternative solutions, as it seems that the beaten track has reached a dead end. That means a different approach is needed, with a fresh perspective and a new attitude. “We are faced with a fait accompli,” said Christine De Lille. “Change has to come. The major question is how.”

The conference itself provides an answer: through collaboration and by combining the strength of imagination, design and innovative power. The new generation is playing a decisive role here and it cannot go fast enough for the youths of today. According to De Lille, “Our students are incredibly demanding and are able to bring about the biggest changes as a result. They only want to have circular food and are getting involved with waste streams. And they want to graduate in creating a better world. The wonderful thing is that they know how to inspire teachers and to give the entire institute a sharper edge. There is a extraordinary revolution taking place in the world of education. Not only in the Netherlands, but across the globe. That is why we have to show our students the value of networking.”

According to Lucas De Man, the theme is a paradox in itself. “You cannot actually change the inevitable, but there are a thousand edges and colours you can choose from. This makes changing the inevitable achievable in a certain sense. It is possible: Change the Inevitable”.

 

Meet Lucas de Man and Christine de Lille @CWF2019

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