Creativity and innovation in the SDGs

The United Nations Organization (UN) has assigned April 21 as the World Creativity and Innovation Day, concepts that are closely linked to each other and that are considered important values ​​by most countries. Moreover, in modern societies, R&D&I (research, development and innovation) is a strategic necessity and a key element to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the 2030 Agenda.

Historically, the most successful projects at all levels have been those in which combined strategies of creativity and innovation have been applied with the greatest effort, whether in the business, financial, architectural, industrial, economic or any other world, and Although they are often associated with the same concepts, they represent different aspects closely related to each other since,

• Creativity refers to the mental process of generating, imagining and conceptualizing new and original ideas, which we can apply to things that already exist and can be improved, or to things totally different, while

• Innovation is the process through which new ideas are incorporated into our daily lives in the form of new products, processes, services, etc., or new ways of looking at or presenting said elements.

Therefore, regardless of the type of project contemplated, both definitions must be taken into account together, but in such a way that each one separately can develop their skills in the best possible way to achieve the desired objectives. A very clear example applied to what we are saying is the project to create the Grameen Bank, a community development bank, founded by Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh, characterized by granting microcredits to low-class people, preferably women (96%).

Yunus’ idea was based on the conviction that poor people were capable of starting a business and generating enough income to live on, so he prepared the project that collected his ideas with the methodology to follow. A first loan from a local bank allowed him to start activities to put into practice the creation of the Grameen Bank, that is, the materialization of his plan. Today, the bank continues to assume that when people are provided with credit, they will be able to initiate a social ascent through their entrepreneurial efforts.

This original idea, turned into a successful innovative project, has received numerous awards, such as the one awarded in 1994 by the government of Bangladesh. In 2005, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the “International Year of Microcredit” as a sign of special attention to this mode of financing. In 2006, Muhammad Yunus received the “Foundation for Justice Award”, thus recognizing the importance of the microcredit system for an effective defense of Human Rights. In that same year, the Universities of Valencia, Alicante and Jaume I invested Professor Muhammad Yunus as Dr. Honoris Causa in Cooperation for the three universities. Finally, in October 2006, the Nobel Prize committee recognized Grameen Bank and its founder Yunus with the Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to create economic and social development from below.”

This example allows us to see how applied creativity and innovation have been the key elements to achieve compliance with a few SDGs from the first innovative impulse that is reflected in SDG1, poverty reduction. As a consequence of the changes generated, the multiplier effect means that several objectives are affected: ending hunger (SDG2), guaranteeing a healthy life and promoting well-being for everyone (SDG3), ensuring inclusive, equitable and quality (SDG4), achieve gender equality and empower women and girls (SDG5), ensure availability of water and sanitation (SDG6) and access to affordable energy (SDG7), provide decent work and economic growth ( SDG8), promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and encourage innovation (SDG9), reduce inequality within and between countries (SDG10) and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development (SDG17).

A true transformation of a landscape, one of whose key tools has been the creativity-innovation relationship, in response to a latent demand of a country at a given time. This shows us that having new ideas is important and, therefore, creativity must be encouraged, but the correct implementation of these ideas, innovation, is absolutely necessary. To the above, it should be added that many times, despite being able to have better means and resources, without the human capital capable of responding to such initiatives, the desired goals are not achieved either.

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Creativity and innovation in the SDGs