Symptoms of Creativity

Culture and creativity are powerful – not only as sources of identity, enjoyment and self-actualisation, but also as the critical drivers of cohesion, inclusion, innovation and growth. However, their potential to provide solutions to the most pressing challenges remains largely untapped. More than anything or anyone before, COVID-19 has brought this potential to light. Culture and creative industries can undoubtedly help lead the way out of the crisis, but they have been hit hard by the crisis themselves.

The 2020 edition of Creative Forum Ljubljana took place in the midst of this turmoil. Policymakers try to support cultural and creative sectors so that, in turn, they can help the economy and society to bounce back. Shortly after #ECIS2020, Creative Forum Ljubljana delved into the debate by addressing the critical need to bring culture and creative industries closer to the traditional ones. It is a win-win scenario for the future.

What are the symptoms of creativity and how can we develop them into a full-blown creative outbreak?

The world has changed and so has the Forum.
In 2020, was::

BUSINESS-ORIENTED: In order to amplify its message and widen its reach, it has joined Innovation Day. Year by year, this traditional Slovenian event, organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, celebrates innovative achievements at the international level. In a combined program in 2020, it lent its voice to companies that thrive on their innovative cooperation with cultural and creative sectors.

GLOBAL: The challenges of 2020 went far beyond the regional scope. Consequently, the Forum adapted by connecting speakers and participants from all over the world. Its capacity-building modules, however, remained oriented towards its traditional target audience: the Western Balkans and the European Neighbourhood.

ONLINE:Naturally, we missed the hands-on community building and inspiring debates over coffee breaks that made the 2019 edition so enjoyable. However, we gained by reaching out to new audiences and by adopting new formats of cooperation – and welcomed more than 4800 participants from 60 countries!

How do industry and commerce benefit from the innovation capacities of the creatives? What were the best presented practices? Should we make adaptations to our policy framework? Can the existing platforms and support mechanisms do more in these already challenging times? Check out the sessions’ recordings below to see some answers and ideas that made the biggest buzz!



Opening Speeches

dr. Stanislav Raščan (SI), State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Sonja Šmuc (SI), General Manager at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Programme moderated by:
Petra Kežman (SI), Head of Public Diplomacy at the MInistry of Foreign Affairs
dr. Aleš Ugovšek (SI), Chamber of Commerce and Industry


Key Note Lecture: Grow Your Business Through Service Innovation

Kristi Hodak (UK), Associate Design Director at McKinsey & Company

If you are looking for a recipe to de-risk your innovation process, this lecture might interest you. Kristi Hodak is a professional service designer, currently working at the global management consultancy McKinsey in London. In the last 4 years, she has established a handful of new businesses and built innovative digital products and services that are today being used by millions of people. In her keynote, she will share with you how to effectively approach service innovation – through your organisation mindset, structure, skillset and processes – to make your business thrive. Kristi is a big advocate for interdisciplinary collaboration, design leadership and integrity of innovation teams, especially regarding pressing social and environmental issues. She will be happy to discuss those topics also during the Q&A session.




Leaders’ Panel: From Unplanned Spill-overs to Deliberate Cross-overs

Governments around the world are starting to understand the spillover effects of the creative industries – the unplanned impact on other sectors, e.g. tourism or social well-being. However, what is still mostly absent is deliberate and planned coordination between the creative industries and other policy areas to foster positive results and fully take advantage of the transformative impact.

Ministers and high-level representatives of the European Commission and the OECD discussed practical ways  to advance impacting crossovers between culture, the economy, and other areas, and to bring culture from the wings to centre stage. Together, we were seeking an answer to the question: what is the role of creativity in the building of more cohesive, more innovative and happier societies?

Panel participants:

Zdravko Počivalšek (SI) , Minister for Economic Development and Technology

Graça Fonseca (PT), Minister of Culture

Lamia Kamal-Chaoui (OECD), Director of the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship

Nasser Kamel (UFM), Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean

Gitte Zschoch (Eunic), Director of the Network of European Union National Institutes for Culture

moderated by Ragnar Siil (EE), Cultural Policy and Creative Industries Expert

Service Design in Slovenia – Why, When, Where and Who?

Services are booming and taking on an increasingly important role in our daily lives. As consumers become more critical and demanding, it is becoming even more important to design these services more effectively. Over the past 30 years, many service design methods have been developed in order to better understand the customer’s perspective. How have these methods reshaped the Slovenian service sector? In which industries has design thinking taken root? Meet some of the companies that have stepped up their game with service design!

Panel participants:

Ana Osredkar (SI), Service Designer at Servis 8

Marin Medak (SI), Co-founder of Della Spina

Primož Mahne (SI), Design Research Lead at Gigodesign

Žiga Vraničar (SI), Head of Strategic Development at Renderspace

Vojka Kos (SI), Director of Strategic Marketing at Jub

moderated by dr. Aleš Ugovšek (SI), Chamber of Commerce and Industry


Lunchtime Concert by the Pijammies


Preparing Fertile Grounds: Policies to Connect Business and Creativity

The value of cultural and creative industries extends far beyond the immediate beneficial effects of culture on an individual’s well-being and community cohesion. Establishing links to industry and commerce has beneficial spillover effects, not only for businesses but also for the economy in general. This is why governments actively support further integration of the CCI into other economic sectors. Which policy instruments have proved effective when trying to bring companies and creatives closer? We took a closer look at selected policies that have made the biggest bang!

Panel participants:

Wishnutama Kusubandio (ID), Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy

Majken Kalhave (DK), Executive Director of Creative Denmark

Erol Ok (FR), Director General of Institut Français

Amalia de Pombo (CO), Director of Arts, Ministry of Culture

moderated by Bernd Fesel (DE), Chair of the European Creative Business Network


Creating Value: Companies and Creatives Hand in Hand

Innovative practices in culture and creativity not only reinforce the innovative capacities of the CCI sector, but spill over into new approaches, practices, services, and products in the economy at large. Companies that understand such potential include creatives in their production processes. What do the cultural and creative sectors bring to the table? Which approaches of CCI inclusion have proved to be the most successful?  See first-hand how companies benefit from collaboration with the cultural and creative sectors.

Panel participants:

Marino Furlan (SI), Director of Intra Lighting

Tomasz Pilewicz (PL), Business Marketing Manager, Philips

John Michael Denhof (US), CEO of Nova KBM

With comments from: Rasmus Tscherning (DK), CEO and Founder of Creative Business Network

moderated by Matej Golob (SI), Innovation Management Consultant




Art&Science: What Artistic Innovation can Give to Science&Business?

Artists are increasingly joining scientists in their research facilities; the tools and methodologies used by artists and designers radically shift the way research questions are conceived and the way problems are discussed and articulated. These unorthodox methodologies often lead to unorthodox solutions, providing inspiration not only to the teams they are part of but also to society at large. Can artists engage meaningfully in all phases of scientific research? Where could the outsiders’ artistic approach contribute the most? Can these participatory methodologies also provide inspiration for addressing the burning issues of the present? See what leading entrepreneurs and researchers have to say about artists adding value to their work.

Panel participants:

Monica Bello (CH), Head of Arts at European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)

Marko Peljhan (SI), co-founder of C-Astral

moderated by Peter Purg (SI), PhD, Researcher of Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship

Creative Hubs Session: Hacking New Realities

moderated by Luka Piškorič & Eva Matjaž (SI), Poligon Creative Centre
(on invitation only)

Recognised for their important role in fostering communities of creative professionals and businesses, creative hubs are on the frontline of the challenges facing the creative sector. While the coronavirus crisis has forced many of the hubs to drastically limit their activities, this session invited creative hub managers to co-create survival strategies for their hubs and communities.


Play&Learn Session: How will we entertain and learn in the near future?

organised by Creative Business Network

Creative Bussiness Network created the Play & Learn model to help startups, companies and institutions working on education, games and learning to grow and implement innovative projects. has invited them to Innovation day 2020 in order to focus on the Western Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Eastern Partnership region. Twisted Tales, a local startup from Slovenia won the CBN Play & Learn pitching session with investors at Innovation Day 2020. Their project raises awareness and educates children and parents on how to “de-stigmatise” by presenting the stigmas within the familiar narratives of fairy tales.




National Innovation Awards Ceremony


Online Capacity Building:
Management in Creative Industries

All editions of, targeting the Western Balkans and the Southern Mediterranean, have reaffirmed the large creative potential of the young in the region. Cultural and creative industries employ highly skilled individuals with sufficient knowledge and expertise to envisage and create new products, new services and new ways of working and cooperation. There is nevertheless a perceived lack of managerial skills in the creative sector where more often than not creatives also become executives. The various crises resulting from the pandemic only reinforced the needs for skilled managers that will be able to cope with the ever-changing environment. teamed up with Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI) and the IEDC Bled School of Management in order to provide a capacity building program, limited to participants from:

Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, North Macedonia, Palestine, Serbia, Slovenia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine. You can apply and find additional information here.


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About is a platform for a lively and cross-sectoral exchange between creatives, entrepreneurs and policy makers. It invites different sectors – industry, foreign policy, education, tourism and more – to jointly create an enabling environment for the cultural and creative sector to prosper. It provides capacity building, networking opportunities and room for debate. It is an advocate for and a catalyst of policy change.

Primarily, it targets the regions of the Western Balkans and the Southern Mediterranean. However, it knows no geographical limits and partners with institutions and businesses from around the globe. A strong cultural and creative sector is a global need. It is key to development, peace and people’s well-being.

The Forum was launched in 2018, in cooperation between the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Union for the Mediterranean. Since then, it has considerably grown and joined forces with a wide array of international partners. While its first edition in 2018 reviewed the regional state of affairs in the cultural and creative sector, the 2019 edition set the ground for collective action under the title “Creative Capital United”. Many new partnerships were established and new ideas born. Some networks expanded and others were imagined for the future.



Strategic partners


Associate Partners