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Culture, Creativity and the Competitive Advantage

Culture, Creativity and the Competitive Advantage
From companies to government institutions, managers are now realising that innovation and creativity is the way to make money and positively evolve. Soren Peterson has investigated what creative professionals believe are the ingredients for a booming creative economy.

Do cultures with a lot or creativity have an advantage over those that are more conventional or traditional?

Soren Petersen in an article for the Huffington Post tries to find out if culture influences creativity and how it can give countries a competitive advantage over others. Petersen posted this question on a social network for creative professionals and was bombarded with answers.

Creative professionals regarded creativity as the most important competitive advantage a region can have. According to them, creativity mainly stems from having a good educational system, but ‘appreciation of personal expression, ethnic diversity and exposure to a wide range of inspiration’ are believed to be important as well. The professionals felt the most creative cultures were those of countries with an egalitarian governance that protected its inhabitants.

Moreover, they believed that the level of trust was higher and the level of fear of creative cultures was lower. Creative minds were also thought of as more responsible and accountable, which Petersen says is a ‘competitive advantage in itself.’ Children in technological and culturally diverse environment were also absorb knowledge and embrace change.

The challenge-inducing constraints of certain regions, albeit the environment, the weather, limited resources or conflicts, were also seen as a great breeding ground for creativity. Countries that were praised for their creativity that stemmed from hardships were Scandinavia, the UK and the US, while Australia and Canada were seen as ‘uneventful’ countries that rely on their own resources, making creativity unnecessary.

Another factor that was believed to encourage process was religion and a spiritual relationship to the environment. Central planning, control and regulations and bureaucracy and corruption on the other hand were regarded as factors that suppress creativity. Striking is that the professionals believed confidence and arrogance also put creative development to a halt.

Creative professionals seem to think creative culture is essential to obtain a competitive advantage. What then, Peterson asks himself, can cultures that are oriented on manufacturing and services do to become more successful?

Peterson believes one way to expand their creative economy would be to conduct research on why successful creative professionals are top players in their field. Just as the study of behavioural economics, researching how people make decisions could change our views radically if we experiment with how creativity takes place. In addition, this ‘scientific design research’ might aid cultures to boost their creative economies by erasing their old-fashioned ways of thinking.
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