In the Reinvention Economy, creativity is currency of choice

The Reinvention Economy unfolded in 2009, recasting the rules of the corporate world. Leading brands worked to redefine and reinvent themselves in ways that proffered optimism and illuminated paths out of the dark financial storm.

The Reinvention Economy unfolded in 2009, recasting the rules of the corporate world. Leading brands worked to redefine and reinvent themselves in ways that proffered optimism and illuminated paths out of the dark financial storm.

Much of this period's first phase was focused on rebuilding the broken infrastructure that led to our economic demise - be it faulty corporate governance, laws, and structures; or the poor social support systems of education, finance, home-buying, and healthcare.

This year, we will go beyond rebuilding the infrastructure that is America and the world. If phase one of the Reinvention Economy was about repairing foundations - ensuring the sustainability of business and innovating just enough to appease consumers - phase two is about standing on those foundations and bringing forward a new level of reinvention. It's about marrying technology and innovation with creativity. It's about activating ideas. It's about energizing business leaders and consumers. It's about the experience.

Companies in 2010 will manage against this expectation for true reinvention. They'll invest in individuals, ideas, and brand experiences. Success will be judged not via the esoteric quality controls of the past 20 years (total quality management), but on a new principle of "Total Experience Management," where the consumer experience is paramount, from consideration, contemplation, and shopping to purchase, all the way to at-home experience and even disposal.

The new economy craves creativity. Old metrics of corporate reputational and product success remain (innovation, product prowess, sustainability,) but new measurements, built off these stronger foundations, drive the landscape.

Creativity emerges as the environment's new currency, acting as the catalyst for transforming these pillars of elite corporate reputation into definable action.

As part of this creativity-led explosion, lines again blur between industries, particularly in the arena of media uber-brands and uber-advocates, with the worlds of entertainment and politics increasingly impacting the new media landscape. If Maria Bartiromo defined the first iteration of media "uber-advocates" - shifting the balance of power from media title to journalistic brand - 2010's new uber-influencers, like Ashton Kutcher, continue to unite the formerly splintered worlds of politics, entertainment, and business.

Those who will succeed will realize that phase one of the Reinvention Economy was only a harbinger of the change that creativity and a steadfast approach to innovation will bring this year.

Billee Howard is EVP and MD of the global strategic media group at Weber Shandwick.

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