Rubik's cube and EU Politics: The Manifesto for Creativity and Innovation in Europe

The "Manifesto for Creativity and Innovation in Europe" is one of the key outcomes of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009. The document is the result of a collective work of the Ambassadors of the Year, who are leading European personalities from the fields of culture, science, business, education and design. The Ambassadors handed the Manifesto over to Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso yesterday at midday at a ceremony in the Commission's press room.
Rubik's cube and EU Politics: The Manifesto for Creativity and Innovation in Europe

Ernő Rubik, one of the Ambassadors of the Year, offered to President Barroso the famous cube that he invented. The cube specially conceived for this occasion has on it the names of the EU countries, the European flag and the logo of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation. The President declared to be inspired by the complexity - while at the same time the unity - of the cube in the political negotiations for the appointment of the new European Commission in the very near future.

During the press conference, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said there was considerable convergence between the manifesto and the priorities he has set out for the next EU commission.

"Creators and innovators, whatever their field, share a vision of the future and of how to make it better than the past. Europe needs such vision more than ever as we seek to lead global efforts to recover from crisis and tackle climate change. So I warmly thank the Ambassadors for their Manifesto for Creativity and Innovation in Europe and I will ensure that their vision feeds in to the new Commission's strategy for EU 2020," he said.

President Barroso added that he would push for new sources of growth based on the knowledge triangle of research, education and innovation. He said the new Commission will seek to make Europe “more mobile and connected”. The Commission President also cautioned against cutting public spending on research and education, urging EU governments to shift public finances towards “smart industries”.

Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, thanked the Ambassadors for their contributions and said their work would help inform future innovation policy as the EU sets out its plans for the next decade.

Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International, said Europe’s future depends on the imagination of its people and he called on political and business leaders to create an environment that encourages creative thinking.

He said technology has the potential to radically transform society and to create new jobs, but investment in skills is essential. “Acquiring IT skills, for example, is as fundamental as reading and writing,” said Courtois, who spoke on behalf of the 27 Ambassadors.

The manifesto will serve as a guide to the new European Commission when it drafts its programme for the next five years.

Prof. Edward de Bono, another of the ambassadors said the ambassadors can help provide “new thinking” to help find novel solutions to society’s problems. De Bono, the father of lateral thinking, said economists are capable of describing problems but have proven less effective when it comes to solving them.


The 27 Ambassadors of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation are drawn from the arts and sciences, from industry and education. The group has met several times to draft the template which will feed into the public debate on innovation policy.


The Manifesto for Creativity and Innovation has "Seven commandments" and "Seven lines of action" related to education, culture, science, design, the workplace and business.

The document emphasises the need for cultivating imagination and creativity if Europe is to innovate its way out of the economic stalemate. It proposes a range of policies which it says can be the basis for delivering a fairer and greener society. Retraining teachers and encouraging lifelong learning are highlighted as a priority, with greater attention paid to critical thinking and design at all levels of the education system.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the document would feed into the ongoing discussion on the shape of Europe's innovation policy.

Initiative should be rewarded

The expert group says people who take new initiative in business, the public sector and civil society should rewarded, and proposes a combination of patent reform and prizes for artists, designers, scientists and entrepreneurs. The cultural sector should be built up through national and European programmes in order to facilitate intercultural dialogue and boost creative industries, according to the manifesto.

The Ambassadors believe a broader-based innovation policy, along with increased investment in science, technology and design, will help make Europe more competitive.

Firms should be stimulated to combine scientific knowledge with experience-based knowledge. Developing and implementing broad innovation policy strategies must be a major concern for political leaders,” the manifesto states.

Europe should think globally

The group wants to see Europe at the world-wide forefront in terms of science, culture and competitiveness, but also calls for economic collaboration with developing countries.

Promoting innovation in poor countries is a moral obligation and it reduces the pressure of immigration. Europe should contribute to the establishment of fair rules regarding the protection and sharing of knowledge at the global level,” says the document.

As part of a wider effort to transform itself into a post-carbon society, Europe should embrace eco-innovation and clean technologies, according to the report which was coordinated through the EU executive’s education and culture directorate.

Investments need to be combined with new institutions, new regulation and new habits. Creativity is the major tool to find solutions that combine sustainability with prosperity,” the Ambassadors concluded.


Link to the Manifesto

Link to photo gallery

Link to press release

Remarks by President Barroso at the press conference

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