#leadership #creativity #publicspeaking

This Creative Bite is the keynote speech: “To be or not to be. Mastering the Age of AI with Creativity” I delivered last Saturday at the G100 Leadership Summit. I’m humbled by and grateful for the audience’s great reception of my thoughts.

I would like to dedicate this speech to all the women and men who preceded me: the mothers, sisters, fathers, and brothers; the fighters, caregivers, and warriors; the entrepreneurs, farmers, refugees, and migrants; and most assuredly, the dreamers and doers.

This is for those who were too often confronted with unimaginable tasks, and for those who endured such levels of pain, injustice, and inequality that many of us in this room can’t even begin to imagine. For those who had no choice but to remain silent in the face of abuse, and for those who screamed so loudly, yet were ignored to the point of surrender.

All of these people are part of my family’s history, and something tells me that their struggles are universal. Therefore, this dedication also extends to all of you who are currently enduring unimaginable suffering, despite clear evidence that such suffering is unnecessary and can be ended immediately.

Facing a variety of challenges, myself, I can’t help but see myself as someone who is very privileged and extremely fortunate. This privilege brought me before you today, and with this privilege comes a profound responsibility that I feel for the time and space that has been given to me.

As we face the dawn of a new era that we are entering at great speed, I would like to use this brief intervention to offer a few ideas on how we can master the age of AI with creativity.

Before we begin, I would like to introduce three golden rules that will guide our presentation today.

The first rule is ‘Ideas.’

💡 It means that every idea is a good idea; there is no such thing as a bad idea.

The second rule is ‘Sky.’

💡 This implies that even the sky is not our limit. We can all reach for the extraordinary with our ideas.

The third rule is ‘Trust.’

💡 This ensures confidentiality, what happens here, stays here.

But what do these terms actually signify when brought together – Ideas, Sky, Trust?

Let’s conduct a simple calculation. When we add ‘Ideas’ to ‘Sky’ and to ‘Trust,’ we create the potential for transformation. More so, when Ideas, Sky, and Trust merge, they create a conducive environment for creativity to flow.

Fair enough, but why creativity?

Creativity can be understood as a catalyst for both individual and societal transformation. But before we delve into this, we need to comprehend what transformation means.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines transformation as a complete change in the appearance or character of something or someone, especially so that thing or person is improved.

So, why is this individual transformation important?

Because of kidnapped creativity.

Year after year, my curiosity and creativity were kidnapped by a schooling system that was devoted to suppressing anything that deviated from the norm, specifically curiosity and creativity. The tipping point arrived one late Friday afternoon at high school when my teacher approached my desk, placed my essay before me, and declared that I had failed. Just for context, I had spent an entire passionate weekend writing that essay. I was told I had failed because, “It was impossible that I had written it. I was only 16 years old, and students my age don’t write like this.”

Stunned, I picked up the essay and walked out of the class, leaving everyone, including myself, in shock. Not just because I was accused of cheating, but also because I had dared to challenge the teacher in front of over 30 pairs of wide-open eyes.

Reconciliation came shortly afterward when one of my other teachers found me crying on the school steps and promised to help rectify the situation. A few days later, my reputation as a writer was restored.

However, it was in that classroom, with that teacher – long before ChatGPT, before personal computers were widely available, and certainly before the advent of any smart devices (except for brains, which we used extensively) – that my creativity was truly stifled.

It took me thousands of metaphorical and physical miles to reclaim it, to bring it back home where it belongs, back to myself.

Because I know for certain that not much has changed in this respect. Children, teenagers, and frankly, even you are all too often denied the opportunity to exercise fundamental abilities like creativity and curiosity. It requires both courage and space to awaken our inner curious children and let them play.”

You might argue that this is subjective and not everyone shares this experience, but let’s consider the complexity that comes with AI versus creativity or creativity versus AI.

Humans have the unique ability to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions to challenges.

It is this creativity that will be essential in mastering the age of AI, because…

Creativity is the ability to think outside of the box, to come up with ideas that have never been thought of before.

It is the ability to take risks, think differently and explore new possibilities.

It is the ability to make connections between seemingly unrelated things, and to find new solutions to old problems.

However, AI tools can already perform these tasks. This implies that human creativity now parallels the capabilities of AI tools.

We need to acknowledge that the AI era has arrived, albeit unevenly distributed.

Fortunately, being human encompasses much more than just creativity.

Being a human being is not just about our biology and our brains. It also encompasses our social, emotional, and intellectual lives.

As social beings, humans have evolved to live in communities and rely on one another for support and connection.

Emotionally, humans are capable of a wide range of feelings, from joy and love to sadness and grief.

Intellectually, humans have developed language, science, art, and technology, which have allowed us to create complex societies and civilizations.

Being a human being is a multifaceted experience that encompasses both our biological and cultural identities.

It is a journey of self-discovery and growth, full of challenges and opportunities for personal and collective evolution.

So, what can we really do with this? Firstly, we can start envisaging a world where we co-create. In this world, human creativity will play an integral role. We will have more time to nurture our talents and interests, more time for experimentation and play, more time for travel, and exploring nature. And importantly, more time for self-discovery.

Secondly, I truly believe in the potential of inner transformation, the alignment of head, heart, and hands. This transformation shouldn’t be an afterthought, like a cherry atop an unhealthy cake. It’s not about masking flaws but about genuine change.

Another crucial aspect is Intercultural Communication and Community. This suggests that we can create intercultural understanding and forge communities around the globe using creativity and ethics.

When we conduct the calculation again, merging Creativity, Inner Transformation, and Intercultural Communication and Community,

We are provided with an opportunity to reimagine everything.

Imagine a world where every individual taps into their creative potential

Where we shift from a monetary focus to a human-centric way of living.

Where we stop worrying about the future and start cherishing our time on this planet, which is inherently fleeting.

By merging creativity with inner transformation and Intercultural Communication and Community, we can truly initiate societal transformation.

I believe we have no other choice but to reclaim our humanity, our creativity, our core values of creation. We need to return to what it truly means to be human.”

Creativity, as I see it, is not merely an attribute or a skill – it is an intricate tapestry woven from the threads of imagination, innovation, intuition, and daring. It is a holistic process that engages our senses, stirs our emotions, challenges our intellect, and above all, speaks to the core of our human experience.

We stand on the brick of remarkable change – a time of profound disruptions and revolutions – and it is in these transformative periods where opportunity often resides. As we traverse this tumultuous terrain, I hold a profound belief: we are poised to reconnect with our creative essence, with that unique spark that has fueled human advancement from the dawn of our history.

Our creativity, our ability to dream, to problem-solve, to envision the unseen and make it a reality, this is what makes us inherently human. I believe that each one of us will embark on a personal journey of rediscovery, tapping into this wellspring of creativity that lies within us, often dormant but never extinguished.

And it is not just about personal enlightenment or fulfillment. This creative potential has far-reaching implications for the collective good. Our technological prowess continues to grow at an astonishing pace, and with these advancements, we have the potential to shape a future that is sustainable, inclusive, and just.

Envision a future where our creativity, coupled with advanced technologies, is harnessed to protect our most precious home – our planet. Imagine using our collective ingenious minds and digital tools to create societies that are resilient and adaptive.

We have the potential to not just preserve, but to improve, to create a world that is safer, healthier, and more harmonious for all its inhabitants. A world where future generations can thrive, unburdened by the crises and conflicts we face today and generations before us faced.

This isn’t an unreachable utopia. It’s a future that’s within our grasp, provided we embrace our creativity, our ability to innovate and adapt. So, let us embark on this journey of rediscovery and reimagination, for ourselves, for our communities, for our planet.

Take heart in the knowledge that we are creators, innovators, visionaries. Our creativity is our hope. It’s the beacon that can guide us towards a future we can be proud to leave behind for generations to come. The dawn of a safer, brighter world is on the horizon, and it is our creative spirit that will lead us there.

️💥 What are your leadership ideas for the AI age? ❤