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Staying on top of change - 13/11/2009

Motorway covered in grass  © Vincent Bitaud

As part of the 2009 European Year of Creativity and Innovation, a diverse group of prominent scientists, artists, scholars and business executives - European ambassadors of the year – has come up with an ambitious manifesto.

“The world is moving to a new rhythm", says the group. "To be at the forefront of this new world, Europe needs to become more creative and innovative”.

They tell us that if Europe is to keep up in a rapidly changing world and successfully tackle challenges like the economic crisis and climate change, we will have to reinvent education, transform workplaces into learning sites, promote innovation, think globally, green the economy and more.

Their words carry weight. The group includes Karlheinz Brandenburg, who invented mp3 and Ernő Rubik, the inventor of the Rubik’s Cube, as well as Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International and Rita Levi-Montalcini, the Nobel prize-winning neurologist.

The manifesto prescribes ways to make Europe a driving force for ideas and change. It calls for more investment – public and private – in the acquisition and application of knowledge. This means more spending on science, technology and design. But it also implies more money to help people keep pace with change, for example through job training and lifelong-learning programmes.

The group also stresses the need to reward initiative: “Artists, designers, scientists and entrepreneurs who contribute with new ideas should be rewarded. Prizes for excellence should be combined with legal protection of intellectual property rights and strike a balance between creating fair rewards and promoting knowledge-sharing.”

The manifesto is largely the product of six debates in Brussels this year on key topics surrounding creativity and innovation. A final debate scheduled for later this month will explore how creative industries can shape both the economy and society.

The campaign also gave rise to a range of cultural events across Europe such as art exhibitions and festivals. It ends with a conference in December in Stockholm.

Manifesto for Creativity and Innovation in Europe

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