WEF Research Says Creative Economy Requires Agile Governance Mechanisms to Thrive

At a round table organized by the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) and NETFLIX, the World Economic Forum released a briefing paper based on its study of the new creative economy – spurred by the Fourth Industrial Revolution – with perspectives on the new principles, protocols, rules and policies required to govern the sector. This new model, called agile governance, is a more adaptive, human-centered, and sustainable policy-approach.

Agile governance calls for a multi-stakeholder effort, in which public and private sector collaborate to develop forward-thinking solutions together to encourage industry growth, while addressing the concerns of a fast-paced digital world.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is swiftly transforming the way individuals and communities live, work and interact. It is transforming creative economies across Asia – generating greater consumer benefits, new models of cross-border content distribution, and refreshed opportunities for local content production and economic development. These changes are hard to predict and complex to govern, yet they may hold solutions to some of the most critical issues society faces today.

Among the most dynamic sectors of the global economy, creative industries not only create jobs and economic opportunities along their end-to-end value chain, but also hold broader social and cultural significance. Creative industries offer countries and regions powerful ways to cultivate and share their unique cultural identities with the rest of the world.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is bringing about three paradigm shifts in the creative economy: lower barriers to entry for businesses, cross-border opportunities for distribution, and increased consumer benefits in the form of choice, convenience and affordability. They have also presented new core challenges: pressure on the creative industry ecosystem to meet rising consumer demand, raising concerns about shifting societal values, and disruptive business environments where traditional players are falling behind in deploying new digital features while encumbered by traditional regulation that is increasingly out of sync with the new environment. In this new environment, novel principles, protocols, rules and policies are needed to accelerate these technologies’ positive and inclusive effects, while effectively minimizing their negative externalities.

Agile governance is best suited for industry environments in which

1) there are practical difficulties for governments in employing traditional regulatory mechanisms,
2) there are clear areas of mutual understanding between private & public sector that fosters collaboration, and
3) the industry is capable and proactive in coming up with solutions to address regulatory concerns.

Key features of agile governance models that expand governance beyond government, as defined by the World Economic Forum, include practicing industry self-regulation, setting ethical standards, creating collaborative governance ecosystems, and creating transparency and trust in technological innovation.

Agile governance works best when it is approached regionally rather than nationally. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution transforming cross-border relations, the countries that do not think regionally will miss out on the opportunities and will fail to address the growing challenges, particularly in South-East Asia where a strong foundation for regional collaboration already exists. A regional approach pools together resources to develop the right policies and ensure consistency and greater opportunities across countries.

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