Henley Business School Africa’s inaugural Creativity and Innovation Conference was held at Henley in Sandton on 15 and 16 October, a first for hosting a line-up of international speakers.

There were nine overseas speakers and four local speakers who covered topics ranging from consumer insights and design thinking, to innovation, leadership and self-care relating to the risks involved in helping others and its effect on creativity.

Puleng Makhoalibe, head of Henley ICE – Henley’s School of Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship, said, “We believe that free thinkers are the future as the world evolves. It is with this concept that the conference was designed to bring people together from all different spheres for one common goal, to embrace their creativity and not be afraid to use those skills in the workplace.”

“Creativity and innovation are the new pathways to success. The old way of doing business, with its focus largely on analysis, data, number crunching and the bottom line just doesn’t cut it anymore. Organisations that seek to remain competitive and at the top of their game are going to have to open up to being more imaginative and use creativity to drive innovation.”

“Old processes, procedures, tools and frameworks are failing corporates. Creativity enables us to come up with new ideas, which can affect the world and businesses. For those who embrace it, and for those many companies that are reluctant for fear of failure – there is great potential employee satisfaction,” she said.

Dawn dePasquale spoke about the important traits of a successful employee and entrepreneur. She said that initiative is one of the key drivers of success. This is the ability to take the initiative when facing obstacles and day-to-day challenges in business.

Elizabeth Power, works with The Trauma Informed Academy, explained that there is a cost to caring. The consequences of empathy can drain one’s emotions and creativity.

Attendees completed a self-awareness worksheet and an assessment of the costs of caring. This was aimed at improving self-care in order to be more useful to others.

Sessions were also held to improve learning skills where painting, drumming and visual games were used to enhance creativity and communications.