SOAR Africa stirred up discussions on resilience, re-invention, and productivity during these uncertain times, through a virtual panel discussion yesterday(23.04.2020). Hosted by Waihiga Mwaura, the SOAR Africa Masterclass in conjunction with Safaricom and KCB brought all players in the creative economy for a much-needed honest discussion.
The panelists included Sauti Sol’s Bein- Aime Baraza, singer and Intellectual Property lawyer June Gachui and comedian, radio host Jalang’o, who gave their two cents on the resilience required for creatives during the tough economic times currently being experienced worldwide.
Here are 6 takeaways members of the creative economy can benefit from:
1.Different times, require different business models
The panelists discussed the novelty of the times. With business grinding to a halt, the economy has dipped significantly. However, this era is a time to explore new business models and encourage inspection into new formats of carrying out trade. It is time to explore the avenues for revenue in the digital space, and establish businesses on that front. Sol Generation co-founder Bien shared about his experience with a recent Instagram Live pajama party, which gave him access to tens of thousands of viewers online. Perhaps as musicians, artists, producers are confined to their homes in a bid to flatten the curve COVID-19 spreading, virtual concerts, live-streamed comedy shows are worth exploring at this time.
2.Boundaries are limitless
The new rules that have been put in place to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus may have created physical boundaries, however there are no virtual boundaries. Now with internet connectivity, the world in a global village which opens up Kenya to the world.
The panelists encouraged local creatives not to box themselves up, but rather through a renewal of their minds find new audiences, and greater exposure through the world wide web.
3. Adaptability is key
The creative economy is part of a larger eco-system, functioning as part of a larger society. Therefore, to make the most of the situation at hand, it might be time to adapt. Renowned author, Alvin Toffler said The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
Speaking on the importance of adaptability, June Gachui pointed out that ” it is a complete fallacy to think the thing we did in the last decade is the thing we will do in this next decade.” The is a need for increased connectivity, cheaper smartphones, and more content required for the public to consume. As 2020 marks the beginning of a new decade, it is vital to scout out new opportunities in present times, and not dwell on the current trouble of this day.
4.Collaboration is vital
The potential of the virtual space is multiplied when creatives collaborate. In this time that some may think of as a vacation, it is critical to organize the industry and its players, re-think pricing as a collective, as well as the way forward as a sector. The next decade presents major opportunities and to reap the full benefits, all members of the creative economy must act in unison.
5.Authenticity should never be ignored
Twyla Tharp says, “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” An artist’s unique perspective comes when it is authentic to their being, without outside influence. As a creative, one is encouraged to evaluate themselves and reflect on their craft, as well as their messaging. As the future hangs in the balance, it is critical not to resist change but instead allow the unsure times to influence your creations while speaking your truth in your won voice, authentic to you.
6. Never give up
Resilience requires strength, adaptability and perseverance. Though many in the creatives sector may lack any guarantee for their future, it is crucial that you never give up.