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Jordan joins the world in celebrating World Creativity and Innovation Day
Jordan joins the world in celebrating World Creativity and Innovation Day
Thursday, 21 April 2022

Today, Thursday, Jordan and the world celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Day, which falls on April 21st  of each year. The celebration of this day aims to raise awareness of the role of creativity and innovation in solving problems, economic and social development and sustainable development.

 The World Creativity and Innovation Day is an occasion through which examples of best practices can be promoted and the use of creative thinking and technology towards achieving sustainable development goals take centre stage. Innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship can all lead to a new impetus to economic growth and create opportunities for all, including women and youth, and find urgent solutions such as eradicating poverty and ending hunger.

In a special statement on this occasion, the Higher Population Council stressed that its interest in this matter comes within the framework of its endeavour to create a suitable environment for Jordan to benefit from the demographic transition it is going through and the high percentage of the population of working age, and to address the growing unemployment rates among young people, indicating that in order to be able to confront these current and future challenges, our society is in urgent and pressing need to elevate the level of youth productivity and competitiveness in the local, regional and international markets, develop their capacities and productive efficiency, equip them with skills, expertise and renewable knowledge, and develop their creative, innovative and entrepreneurship mentality.

 The Higher Population Council indicated that the importance of creativity, leadership and innovation is evident in the fact that they play a major role in improving the economic situation of the individual, self-employment, and generating and increasing income. In addition to that, they achieve the individual's independence, opportunity for distinction, and accomplishment of ambitions. They are also one of the main pillars of economic development and of the most important development strategies in developing and advanced countries, and one of the outlets to expand the economic base and revive trade as it creates a number of important jobs linked to competitiveness and competences and create job opportunities and product innovation, as well as being an advantageous asset in increased exports and growth of GDP, and contribute to economic and social growth and stability. One  of the  solutions and modern trends that a number of advanced and developing countries alike has turned to is to resort to encouraging creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. In this regard, The National Centre for Innovation NCI- Jordan was established in 2019 as a national umbrella that aims to create an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship through coordination and organization of collective efforts within an integrative holistic approach that nourishes the business environment with clear guidelines of economic opportunities and utilisation to enhance economic participation within standards compatible with the market, which leads to improving the level of regulation in areas of creativity and ensures coordination and control of inputs and outputs to upgrade the creative business environment so as to reach the highest global practices.

The Higher Population Council pointed out that Jordan faces a number of challenges, the most important of which are the high unemployment rates, which reached 23.3% during the fourth quarter of 2021, and 21.4% among males and 30.7% among females, according to the data of the Department of General Statistics. This calls for the development of a culture of creativity and innovation among young people, finding creative solutions, developing and consolidating the culture of entrepreneurship and industry, as there is an integrative relationship between innovation and entrepreneurship that contributes to building the economy of  knowledge and sustaining the economic and social development of a sustainable of society.

Among the challenges facing creativity and innovation in Jordan are having a culture that is weak in creativity, innovation and the empowerment of manpower in this field, the lack of a specific definition of creativity and the difficulty of measuring it at the national level, the weak coordination between stakeholders in the creativity and innovation system, and the scarcity of local and international funding sources for creative and innovative individuals.

HPC noted that in 2018 it prepared a study on The trends of young people coming to the labour market towards entrepreneurship and the supportive institutional environment in Jordan. The study aimed to identify the trends of young people entering the labour market and the challenges they face in making entrepreneurship their choice in self-employment. In addition to shedding light on the current state of the environment that incubates entrepreneurship and addressing its determinants.

The study, (the sample of which included students expected to graduate from universities, middle colleges, vocational training institutes, and a group of entrepreneurs and institutions sponsoring entrepreneurship,) came to a set of results, the most important of which are the state of confusion among young people between entrepreneurial projects and small and medium projects, which caused misperception of efforts to promote entrepreneurship despite the big differences between them in the areas of creativity, innovation and risk taking. Also, the reality that facilitating entrepreneurship projects in the Jordanian environment is not encouraging and does not lead to the formulation and design of success of pilot projects for graduates who really aspire for entrepreneurship, in addition to the fact that Jordanian legislation does not include any reference to what entrepreneurship or entrepreneurial companies are; this, in turn, leaves a legal void in  attitudes of society regarding entrepreneurship.

The policy summary emanating from the study recommended a set of policies, which, through their implementation, could address the obstacles to making entrepreneurship the choice of young people coming to the labour market, which is to enhance the culture of entrepreneurship among students from the early stages and put into practice a viable entrepreneurial project as a graduation requirement for students of universities, middle colleges and vocational training institutes, as well as establishing a higher council to endorse entrepreneurship, facilitating access to finance, creating a financial umbrella for sponsoring entrepreneurs, and amending laws and legislation to serve the entrepreneurship environment.

The Higher Population Council indicated that Jordan ranks at number 81 globally and nine among Arab states according to the Global Innovation Index for the year 2021, which measures the latest innovation global trends that classify the performance of the innovation ecosystem in 132 global economy.

The Global Innovation Index for 2021 is calculated as a median of two sub-indicators, the first is the innovation input sub-index, which measures factors in the national economy that include innovative activities in five areas (institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market development and business environment development.) The second indicator relates to innovation outputs, which measures the real evidence of innovation results; in its turn, it is divided into two areas (knowledge and technology outputs, and creative outputs.) Here, Jordan ranked 79th  globally in the first sub-indicator, and 81st in the second sub-indicator.

The Council noted that creativity and innovation have an important role in achieving sustainable development goals. The ninth goal of the sustainable development goals focuses on building resilient infrastructure capable of withstanding, stimulating inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and encouraging innovation. Innovation is also an essential component of most goals related to health and well-being,  education, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cities and communities, climate, peace and justice, solid institutions, and partnerships.

In the field of creative industries, UNESCO estimates show the loss of 10 million jobs in the creative industries during the year 2020 alone, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and indicates a decline in the total global added value of the cultural and creative industries by $750 billion in 2020. Revenues of these industries have declined by 20% to 40% in countries where data is available.

The Council recommended the importance of promoting and spreading the culture of creativity and innovation and instilling it in individuals in society through community awareness of the importance of innovation and honouring innovators through awards and competitions, highlighting the future professions of creators and innovators, and creating centres and bodies in research and educational institutions that adopt creative and innovative people and encourage their innovative initiatives, in addition to the importance of instilling the values ​​of innovation in the hearts of students at all educational levels, as well as the need for national public and private institutions to support and encourage innovation through appropriate incentives, encourage private sector support for research and development, support the implementation of applied research, enhance the research component in all higher education programs and levels and introduce the latest scientific and technological trends in their structure.