Colombia's president combines politics with creativity at Cannes

Colombian President Ivan Duque and DDB Latina CEO and President Juan Carlos Oritz
Colombian President Ivan Duque and DDB Latina CEO and President Juan Carlos Oritz

"When creative people meet, creative ideas always show up."

Iván Duque, the youngest person ever elected as president of Colombia, attended the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this year to share how creativity and creativity industries are key drivers in economic growth for countries around the world.

The politician, who was hosted during the session by DDB Latina CEO and President Juan Carlos Ortíz, discussed the "Orange Economy" and how art, music, theater, literature, film and more have helped the Colombian economy prosper.

Find out more in an exclusive Q&A with Duque and Campaign US below.

What inspired you to go to Cannes to speak this year?

Cannes is the right place to be if you are interested in creativity. It is a great honor for me to be invited to participate in this festival of powerful ideas and to share with the audience how we are putting creativity in the center of Colombia´s social and economic development

Creativity is a powerful tool. How has it helped grow the economy in Colombia? 

Creativity by itself does not make Colombia grow. You need an ecosystem built in your economy for this creativity not only to surge but also to become an economic engine. That is what we called Orange Economy and it is one the pillars of the administration I lead. In order to promote this Orange Economy countries must implement seven strategic paths called the Seven Is: Institutions, Information, Industry, Infrastructure, Integration, Inclusion and Inspiration. 

Policies around these seven paths help national economies translate creativity and talent and innovation into economic growth. In Colombia creative industries generated today more than 280 thousand jobs in 32 economic activities monitored by our National Statistics Office.  

What advice do you have for other countries looking to leverage creativity as an economic resource?

My first advice is to believe in the creativity of their own people. Talent is not like oil or natural resources since it is more equally distributed among human beings. But being creative is just the first step into the consolidation of an Orange Economy. Colombia is implementing a national strategy that should continue after we leave office. We are convinced our orange economy strategy cab be replicated in any other developing country. We are ready to show other economies how we are implementing this powerful idea and what lessons we have learned.   

How does creativity drive what you do in your role each day?

Being a sitting President of a country such as Colombia and being creative seems two opposing concepts. Nothing farther from the truth. Putting creativity in the center of a national economic strategy requires introducing innovation in each one of the government policies from rural programs to anticorruption initiatives, from digital inclusion policies to e-government initiatives. I invite you all to take a look at our National Development Plan that reflects how we plan to make this a reality. 

What were you most excited about at the Cannes festival?

When creative people meet, creative ideas always show up. Having the opportunity to share my ideas on creativity and government to one of the most creative bunch of people in the world is definitively an exciting moment.   

You're the youngest person ever to be elected president of Colombia. Give us your biggest piece of advice for young people today as they look to achieve to their goals and dreams. 

Rather than any advice, I would like to give all young people a callout. We need to change our minds for talent to become an engine and a driver for society.

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