The power of displacement: the impact of migration on creativity

Mark Zuckerberg to announce major changes to Facebook news feeds todayThe creative industry is founded on the power of stepping into the unknown.  Those who eschew the norm and deliver a fresh, new perspective on the world are no longer burnt at the stake but held up as visionaries.  And this doesn’t just have to be a figurative displacement – to unlock your greater creative potential there is much to be said for booking that one way ticket and waving goodbye to your comfort zone.

International agency 180 Amsterdam prides itself on creativity without frontiers and at our canal-side office we truly practise what we preach – with 17 nationalities represented, creating work which runs in over 100 markets, we are a world under one roof.  Every day, we bring our diverse perspectives to the collective table in our pursuit of the fresh, new story or angle that will lift and separate itself from the pack.

A powerful force constantly at play – and the reason that Amsterdam has become such an international business hub – is that we are a collective of migrants. We view the world through a different set of eyes, often uncovering truths about customers and brands that might otherwise go ignored.

Throughout history, the migrant has been a powerful and critical symbol of creativity and progress.  Whether we look at art, technology, film, design, right through to sport, business and societal change, the migrant has always offered a fresh perspective and a unique point of view.

The Economist Business Editor Robert Guest discusses this phenomenon of migrant success and innovation in his recent book Borderless Economics. He suggests that, far from being a drain or a hindrance to the global economy, migrants are going to play a critical role in the world’s future economic success.

And this is a point of view that more and more people around the world are waking up to.  Business leaders, such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (pictured), are prominent and active campaigners for migrant rights, as they see the value in their skills.

So, for those in our industry, or in any industry, if you want to move forward you might need to move away – because the migrant’s eyes often see what others do not – and therein is an opportunity for a competitive advantage that we are all searching for.

Al Moseley will be discussing the power of displacement at Eurobest 2013, 5pm, Thursday 5th December.  He will be joined on stage by Lisbon-born creative migrant and international footballer Luis Figo.