Creative Industries for Youth: Unleashing Potential and Growth

United Nations Industrial Development Organization Publication (UNIDO) 2013

20 Pages Posted: 12 May 2013

See all articles by Zhen (Peter) Ye

Zhen (Peter) Ye

Coventry University London; The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Keith Nurse

University of the West Indies (Saint Augustine) - Department of Management Studies

Date Written: January 23, 2013


Creativity is the innate human resource that economies have yet to harness its full potential in order to contribute towards global prosperity, cultural exchange and social justice. Creativity is the inspirational energy and knowledge that spur many individuals, including young men and women, to new industrial ventures with a vision for future transformations of societies.

While no nation inhabited by the people can be short of creativity, innovation tends to emerge where the value of creativity is favorably received by the society and accompanies by freedom to set one’s agenda, where creative talents are better organized through business and supported by the institutions, where competition encourages but most importantly rewards creativity and entrepreneurship. The institutionalization of creativity explains why certain society is able to productively organize creativity to solve society’s most pressing problem and achieving progress, when others have lagged behind in spite of abundant creativity and a rich civilization.

Within this context, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), over the years, has put forward the following question: Can a development model that does not see where and how a culture has existed for hundreds or thousands of years be applied sustainably to any industrial sector? In what ways have current development model overlooked the role of culture and civilization which have long preceded dominant development paradigm of our times? What are the best ways to combine culture and civilization with creativity and innovation? How to transform the creativity of global youth into culture based innovation and translates such synergy into development outcomes and entrepreneurship?

UNIDO’s Creative Industries (CI) technical assistance program recognizes the integral role of culture in industrial development and the importance of combining culture with innovation and opportunity driven entrepreneurship. In response to an increasing number of requests from countries ranging from Bhutan, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru and the Caribbean Island States, UNIDO has been intensifying its assistance to promote the development of cultural assets through CIs, under prevailing conditions of global competition and concerns for harnessing environment - friendly resources. CI is considered a key sector to facilitate operationalization of new perspectives and technologies, through sustainable national development strategies. This is being demonstrated in a number of EU countries, the UK, USA and in emerging economies, i.e. Brazil, India and China.

The Organization has identified, together with several countries requesting assistance, traditional cultural products and services which require creativity and innovation and which cannot be outsourced, to enhance capacities to be used by local or international markets. The skills referred to are those which cannot compromise traditional cultural heritage of a province, region, country or geographical identity. The CI concept applied includes several sub-sectors that have potential for wealth and job creation, when accompanied by appropriate policies and strategies. Those CI include industries related to advertising, arts, architecture, crafts, design, film and audiovisual media, the agri-businesses sector for textiles, fashion design, leather, furniture, (slow) food and even community based tourism related services.

Keywords: creative industries, youth, entrepreneurship, structural transformation, engine of growth

JEL Classification: Z1, L26, L0, O14, O19, N6, L9, L8, L5, F6, J1

Suggested Citation

Ye, Zhen (Peter) and Nurse, Keith, Creative Industries for Youth: Unleashing Potential and Growth (January 23, 2013). United Nations Industrial Development Organization Publication (UNIDO) 2013, Available at SSRN:

Zhen (Peter) Ye (Contact Author)

Coventry University London ( email )

University House
109-117 Middlesex Street
London, E1 7JF
United Kingdom
+44(0)2072473666 (Phone)
+44(0)2076574346 (Fax)


The University of Chicago Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Keith Nurse

University of the West Indies (Saint Augustine) - Department of Management Studies ( email )

The University of the West Indies
St. Augustine, 1
Trinidad and Tobago

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