ADCE & Pi School's White Paper 2019
The outcomes of our Creative Incubator, which involved 80 creative talents of more than 20 countries discussing the transformative potential of creativity for over 10 months

Here at the ADCE, creativity is our main concern and we like to take care of it, nurture it, question it, foster it. Our field is, above all, creative led, and even if we deal with creativity on a daily basis, we sometimes take it for granted. That is why, in 2018 we started, in collaboration with Pi School, our Creative Incubator, a programme to analyse and work out the transformative potential of creativity to provide personal and professional growth for ourselves, our businesses and society.


2020 will mark the 3rd edition of our Creative Incubator and you can already apply to be part of this travelling think tank of creativity. In the meantime, we have summarised the outcomes of the last edition, which have just been published by Jamshid Alamuti, leader of the programme, in the White Paper 2019.

The research question: Can we use creativity for a good cause?

The starting point of the 2019 edition questioned if creativity can do more than power a great campaign or produce an entertaining movie and if it could be used, instead, to solve real, relevant problems in our society. 


The Challenge: Beyond creativity as we know it

The programme aimed to come up with models to use creativity for good causes, and in doing so it questioned the very concept of creativity. Creativity as we generally know it hasn’t been used to solve relevant problems of our society so maybe we should redefine creativity and push for it to be used for a purpose.


Where to start? Re-defining Creativity

One of the most revealing outcomes of this edition of the Creative Incubator was the realisation of the different ways creativity is understood. In a programme with participants from more than 20 countries and from different creative backgrounds, it was key to realise that in order to understand the concept better. The participants also realised the importance to ask what is creativity for ourselves and for our organisations and, if we want to have a positive social impact, redefine creativity with a purpose, outlining the range of activities with which we can drive this positive impact.


Creativity with a purpose: how to measure it

Going through the process of defining creativity for a certain purpose a key question arose at an early stage: how could the application of such creativity be measured alongside other solutions without social purpose? This is one of the most interesting points of the paper, which asserts that applying creativity to a social purpose can lead to its instrumentalisation, so we have to make sure that creativity with a purpose is well crafted both in terms of its quality and its social impact.


Transforming ideas into action:

During the Creative Incubator programme sessions, participants worked to conceive new ways of applying creativity to transform ideas into high-impact actions. Below are three possible models they came up with.

  • Animalizing Creativity

The participants in this group observed and studied how creativity is put into action by other species. The idea with this pattern is to use creative assets more instinctively, more naturally and with much more focus.

  • The Empathy Gap Index

Another experiment to apply creativity beyond traditional usage was driven by a group of participants focused on solving social challenges on a broader scale. The Empathy Gap Index is a project that combines the use of data with an application of creativity to address the gap between different opinions within society and indicate when actions needs to be taken.

  • The Reverse Creative Path

Another angle taken by a group of participants was to examine how “childlike” intuitive attitudes and approaches could be used to unleash creativity within an individual or organisation. The goal here was to establish a process that helps organisations develop new mindsets, become more aware, more purpose-driven and therefore embody a higher cause and have a positive or constructive impact on the environment and ecosystem they are attached to.


Change of mindset: Inspirational Manifestos towards creativity with a cause

Alongside these practical models, participants also produced a series of manifestos to process their findings, impressions, ideas, beliefs and conclusions. You can find them in full in the White Paper, but we have chosen some excerpts that we found deeply inspirational:

“We need to purify our goals, we need to genuinely stand up for our beliefs and most of

all, we must take on responsibilities as creatives in society. So, if you must, check in with the virtues in your creative processes.This is what’s missing and that makes everything spoil so fast. Check if your ideas contain prudence, justice, temperance and courage. See if those ideas deliver faith, hope and charity.”

“As creatives, we are empowered, and therefore we have a responsibility to address the new questions that go along with that power. However, we also live in a paradox: we are able to design new conditions that affect nature, life, and culture (micro- and macro-contexts) while, at the same time, we are subject to the laws of nature, life and culture.This condition demands that the creative discourse shall not be limited to advertising agencies or kept inside tidy disciplines. Consequently, we should explore (and possibly design) different creative economies. A lot about creativity (especially design disciplines) falls into the scope of belonging to systems of exchange, for example the economies of movement or the economies of information. New patterns can emerge, which can reveal complexity, integrated thinking across disciplines, and unprecedented connectivity.”


Closing Remarks and 2020’s goal

Creativity is more than talent, it is an attribute belonging to each and every human being. It is intuitive, instinctive and natural. But it goes beyond humanity and can be observed within the natural world and in many other life forms. Accordingly, it is our duty as humans to proactively put creativity to use in the journey to save our kind and other species, if not the entire planet!

That said, the ability, attitude and conscious understanding of how creativity could be used, is a matter which needs active attention. And this is not happening on its own. Thus the next cycle of the Creative Incubator will set out to practically explore how creativity can be tasked with steering the corporate world towards conscious and sustainable business models that benefit not only shareholders but all stakeholders, including consumers, our communities and the environment. We need you to address this challenge from every possible point of view and we hope we can explore this together in our 2020 edition.