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The New Creative Revolution

25/01/2016 11:15 GMT | Updated 24/01/2017 10:12 GMT

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It's happening in Canada, New Zealand, Tanzania and the UK. Where it's being used to half the risk of death in hospitals...with a simple check-list.

It's happening in the US. Where it's being used by an online retailer to add $300M (£210M) per year to their bottom-line...with a single button.

It's happening in France, Germany, Australia, Denmark and beyond. Where it's helping people lose weight, save more, achieve their goals, and be happier.

Barack Obama recently said, "where policies have been designed to reflect [these] insights, they have substantially improved outcomes for individuals, families, communities and businesses."

The Harvard Business Review said, "This can be applied to virtually every area of business, from governance and employee relations to marketing and customer service."

The World Bank called it, "An important new agenda that can help achieve development goals in many areas, including early childhood development, household finance, productivity, health, and climate change."

For business it means more satisfied, loyal customers. More creative, motivated employees. Better hiring decisions. A growing bottom-line and a more meaningful contribution.

For society it means a healthier, more self-sufficient population. Better public services and lower taxes.

For you? It might just be the new science of personal change. Whether you're looking to improve your health, your wealth or your happiness.

It's a new creative revolution.

How An Idea Can Change The World

You see, once every few generations a powerful new idea comes along that changes everything. That changes our most basic assumptions. That changes how we think about the world. That changes how business leaders, politicians and you and I decide many of the 35,000 decisions we make every day.

And, though you may not see it, ideas like this influences your life in profound ways.

For decades this has been Economics.

It's defined debates around government spending and taxation. Around policing. Around education. Around how we try to build a successful society.

It's defined how businesses recruit and motivate people. How investments are made. How products are priced. How strategy is decided. How firms compete.

After all, as John Maynard Keynes famously said, "Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist."

The result?

A financial crisis we're still getting over - perhaps best explained by films like "Inside Job" and "The Big Short". Rising inequality. Longer working hours. Anxiety being the number one emotion people feel every week. And a planet facing a climate crisis. To put it mildly: it's taken us down the wrong path.

Now a new idea is taking over. A new idea built on major advances in our understanding of why we do what we do. How we make our decisions. What influences our behaviour. How creativity, innovation and change happen.

These breakthroughs have become known as Behavioural Science. And made popular by best-sellers like "Nudge" by Richard Thaler (who has a cameo alongside Selena Gomez in "The Big Short") and Cass Sunstein and "Thinking fast and slow" by Nobel-Prize winner Daniel Kahneman.

But what's truly revolutionary is the impact. The impact when these new insights are put into practice. And how this is taking us on a different and better path. For business, for society, for you and I.

From Whitehall to World Travel

I first saw this as a young Policy Advisor working for the British Government.

My days were filled with meetings about big problems - in health, in education, climate, the economy.

The problems were diverse but they all had one thing in common. They all involved people and behaviour.

What was surprising was what happened when we stopped looking at these problems through the lens of economics. What happened when, instead, we used the new insights from behavioural science. Because virtually every time we did, small changes make a big impact.

So what would happen if we applied this to all areas of our lives? What if the world was re-designed with people in mind?

Making this vision a reality inspired me. And I soon left my safe office job to take the leap into entrepreneurship.

It was a big risk - financially and emotionally. And even harder work to start-up a behavioural practice without backing or support.

That forced me to focus, to be creative and to find people brave enough to try new things.

Many laughed when they heard the ideas. But when they saw the results things changed.

And we started to succeed, thanks to the trust of innovative people who shared this vision.

Now, after working in four continents with start-ups, companies, governments and organisations. Solving problems as diverse as employee motivation and anti-corruption. And seeing the impact of turning insights into meaningful innovations, I'm convinced of two things.

That this is a practical new toolkit for creativity. And that, in the right hands, it can help us build a safer, more prosperous world.

How To Make The Revolution A Reality

At the World Economic Forum a new report titled "The Future of Jobs" was released. The report states that by 2020, 5.1M jobs will be lost to technology. That means industries up-rooted. Major social change. And "safe" careers at risk.

What can replace them? And how can you prepare?

Well, the report also outlined 10 skills to embrace if we want to turn this crisis into an opportunity. Skills like creativity, complex problem-solving, judgement and decision-making. In short: skills about people and behaviour.

That means for those seeking to avoid being left behind. And for those looking to take advantage. New thinking - behavioural thinking - can provide a stable foundation.

Because imagine a future where governments can achieve better outcomes without bigger budgets.

Imagine a future where entrepreneurs and businesses can create more value, give us more satisfaction and use fewer of the planet's finite resources.

Imagine a future where we can make lasting changes to our health, our finances, our happiness today, not one day.

That future is possible. The toolkit is in hand. And the new creative revolution is just beginning.

What will you make of it?

Thomas Cornwall will be presenting "The New Creative Revolution" at Second Home in London on Wednesday 3rd February. The talk is free, but remaining space is limited. To reserve your seat, simply click here and follow the instructions.