A super-glue that mimics the mechanics of gecko lizard extremities; a product that emits non-contaminating light released by bacteria that live in symbiosis with squids; virtual reality apps that teach traditional dances, calligraphy and art…  These are some demonstrations of how innovations originating in cultural and creative industries (CCI) are able to radically change markets for industries such as music and film, among others.

To better understand this new scenario and study its future prospects, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in partnership with the Institute for the Future (IFTF), together conducted in-depth research about how creative sectors will provide us with those innovations that could transform the most traditional industries, including how these industries could modify their style of production and methods of organization to become more productive and inclusive.

The result of this joint project is the report, “Future Landscapes of the Orange Economy: Creative Pathways for Improving Lives in Latin America and the Caribbean”, that can be downloaded for free here and invites you to explore the future promise of CCIs, harness their untapped potential and enable more entrepreneurs to conceive and develop innovative solutions.

What would happen if we could take advantage of this new scenario to build an ecosystem more favorable for creative communities and improving lives? How would this landscape evolve over the next 10 years, as the tools of creative production and consumption become increasingly more democratized? How would the communities of our region modify their way of thinking and take advantage of the creative and cultural economy to foster development that is truly sustainable? In the report, you will find answers to these questions.

Our purpose has not been to devise exact predictions, but rather to stimulate a dialogue centered around new ideas of what we can and must do to better utilize the talent and creativity of our communities. We are convinced that the trends we have identified will trigger more questions, and perhaps many will think our predictions are unreal, as “unreal” as were Uber, Spotify and Amazon in the day…

Therefore, it seems very important to us to open a frank debate soon about the urgency of unlearning what we know today and go back to learning and rethinking what the future could be for these industries and what we should do to maximize their potential.

To carry out our study, first we identified the leading drivers of change that will shape the creative and cultural economy worldwide in the next decade—Narratives, Geographies, Technologies, Finance and Work—and then, from this base, we defined 10 zones of innovation which, if adequate decisions are taken, would be able to take advantage of this new creative and cultural economy of the future to achieve sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

  1. Platform cooperativism: Business and employment cooperatives provide management, administrative support and professional services needed by independent creative talents to make a living.
  2. Artists as first responders: Communities make use of the arts as an essential additional component of the multidisciplinary emergency response to natural disasters.
  3. Empowering women in tech: Girls, female teens and adult women are encouraged to consider the design and development of videogames as a friendly industry, and women are supported to become part of it.
  4. Amplified cultures and landscapes: Emerging technologies, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, capture traditional knowledge and commit new generations to creative and cultural production.
  5. Regional creative markets and clouds: New regional markets of cultural products help creative talents to build a way of life and countries to create brands, giving dynamism to cultural and economic exchange.
  6. Pro-creative finance: Governments find ways to reduce the risks of the creative and cultural economy through a combination of financing systems, investment channels and social safety nets.
  7. Inspired by nature: Biomimicry and synthetic biology combine to make possible a set of innovative products and services—based on biology—that reduce manmade damage to the environment.
  8. Blockchain authentication: The distribution of general ledger technologies democratizes intellectual property and gives creative talents the assurance that they are recognized and are paid for the products they develop.
  9. Social revenue sharing: Social networks attract creators of content with models for distributing income, launching new formulas by which digital creative talents can charge for their work.
  10. Quantification of creative impact: New techniques for gathering and analyzing data allow for making a high-fidelity map of the benefits of the CCI and provide another perspective about how to increase their value.


In the report you will find tangible examples of enterprises in which the drivers of change are efficiently intertwined with the fields of innovation, giving rise to ingenious and surprising solutions. The measures currently adopted for cultivating, expanding and empowering the work of cultural innovators will be able to yield their benefits, ensuring a more inclusive and sustainable future for all, if governments, businesses and communities decide to risk taking action, stepping back from the roads already traveled, and venturing into new creative channels.

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