There’s nothing like a good creative revolution to shake up the national economy and get struggling nations back on their feet. Iceland is the poster child of creative success, using their buoyant creative industries to bring their economy back from the brink of collapse.

A nation with strong entrepreneurial nous, immense design talent and a fondness for building start-ups based on great ideas, Iceland’s creative industry was already contributing more to the economy in 2009 than agriculture. It’s only grown since then.

Now Iceland is absolutely buzzing with creativity. With creative industries themselves growing by the day, people are now asking the question: How can creative thinkers use their talents to help other Icelandic industries experience the same success? The answer: Cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Iceland’s creative minds are pooling their talents and working with struggling industries to help make them more profitable. Take the Icelandic Academy of the Arts innovation project, Designers and Farmers. As the name suggests, the project brings together product and graphic designers, food scientists and farmers to help maximise profit and minimise waste in the farming industry.

And it’s working. Creative solutions to complex problems are emerging on a daily basis – it’s enough to tickle your taste buds. Literally. One solution saw black pudding cake (yes, cake!) added to the menu of the farm and restaurant Fjallakaffi. Why? The farm was known for its meat, but had no use for its offal. By swapping the traditional ingredient fat for root vegetables, the farm succeeded in significantly reducing waste, increasing profits and added a whole new arm to its business. Good thinking.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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