2009: The European Year of Creativity and Innovation

The European Parliment and Council of the European Union proposed, on the 28 March 2008 a “European Year of Creativity and Innovation” in 2009. The aim of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation shall be to support the efforts of the Member States to promote creativity, through lifelong learning, as a driver for innovation and as a key factor for the development of personal, occupational, entrepreneurial and social competences and the well-being of all individuals in society.

Europe needs to boost its capacity for creativity and innovation for both social and economic reasons. The European Council has repeatedly recognised innovation as crucial to Europe’s ability to respond effectively to the challenges and opportunities of globalisation. The modern economy, with its emphasis on adding value by means of better use of knowledge and rapid innovation, requires a broadening of the creative skills base involving the whole population. In particular, there is a need for skills and competences that enable people to embrace change as an opportunity and to be open to new ideas that promote innovation and active participation in a culturally diverse, knowledge-based society.

The role of education and training as a determining factor in enhancing creativity, innovation performance and competitiveness was again emphasised by the European Council in March 2007 when it put forward the concept of the “knowledge triangle” comprising education, research and innovation.

Some of the specific objectives include

  • providing an environment which is favourable to innovation, flexibility and adaptability in a rapidly changing world and creative management of diversity; all forms of innovation, including social and entrepreneurial innovation, should be taken into account
  • promoting education in basic as well as advanced mathematic, scientific and technological skills conducive to technological innovation, and
  • highlighting openness to cultural diversity as a means of fostering intercultural communication and artistic cross-fertilisation.

A European Year which focuses on developing creativity and capacity for innovation would provide an opportunity to bring some of those outputs to the attention of the general public in a way which is accessible and can capture their imagination, while drawing on the results of analyses and policy recommendations already endorsed at European level. It will also build on the results of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue (2008) by emphasising the importance of interpersonal and intercultural skills in fostering creativity and a capacity for innovation in a culturally diverse environment.