MDC Partners and Allison & Partners Study Reveals Leading CEOs and CMOs View Creativity as a Critical Driver of the Global Economy

Key Findings Include:

  • 73 percent of respondents think we have entered the “imagination” economy, with 98 percent affirming that creativity is critical to economic success today;
  • 76 percent of respondents state that creativity has a significant impact on driving business forward;
  • Over half of the executives polled (57 percent) strive to develop a strong creative culture within their organizations; and 80 percent believe that creativity must be generated and fostered by industry leaders in order for new and innovative thinking to survive;
  • 73 percent of senior executives will place an increasing emphasis on creatively inspired communications In the immediate years ahead;
  • The study revealed that creativity is considered critical to globalization efforts in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, all cited as key hubs for entrepreneurial growth; and
  • Creating a vision, and building a defined culture around that vision, was a strong theme. Thought leaders from start-ups such as Inkling, to legacy companies such as IBM, all cited the need for deep discipline and a firm self-audit process to unleash the broadest creative efforts possible within a corporation.

NEW YORK--()--MDC Partners, and Allison & Partners, an MDC Partners company, today unveiled the findings of their first annual C-Factors Index survey, which polled leading CEOs, CMOs and other senior executives to ascertain how creativity is impacting business, globalization, culture and communications. Results unveiled creativity as one of the most influential forces driving today’s global economy, with 76 percent of respondents citing it as among the top elements they are looking to harness to advance their business in the year ahead.

Those surveyed viewed creativity as an increasingly important element in their own communications programs (i.e., it’s something they insist on incorporating) and as a mechanism for driving business performance, with 64 percent requiring creativity in communications to generate optimum business results. Forty-one percent of respondents are looking to rely on it as an agent for building future market share, and 30 percent see it as vital for success in globalization efforts.

Those surveyed were also clear in describing creativity’s rapid expansion beyond the communications function to many other facets of business. Twenty-seven percent of respondents defined creativity as relentless reinvention, 23 percent cited it as organizational agility, and 23 percent referred to it as the culture of collaboration.

“Our research shows creativity emerging as the global economy’s most vital currency today and as among the top drivers of improved business performance. We’re now seeing creativity pushing outside the walls of the communications function where it has traditionally resided to other areas within leading organizations. It will be interesting to see how this shift plays out over time,” said Scott Allison, co-founder and CEO of Allison & Partners. “We’re also interested to see how communications professionals, who are most comfortable with the power and agility of creativity, will partner with other operational areas within these companies to impact business strategy development.”

The survey also noted that an overwhelming number of respondents think that we have entered the “imagination economy,” an economic ecosystem that is increasingly rewarding ideas over intake, and places a premium on those brands and companies that induce and create societal benefit. This new economy is pushing senior executives to look to creativity to help reinvent their roles and the value they can bring to the organization overall. Interestingly, 62 percent of CEOs view creativity as very important to success in their role. This shift can likely be attributed to creativity’s rising influence over leadership, with 80 percent of respondents citing creativity as critical to winning stewardship today.

“Today, the ability to think creatively is more critical than ever in defining successful leadership and brand stewardship, and it’s gone from being an option to a mandate within the C-suite,” said Arkadi Kuhlman, president and CEO of ING Direct USA. “We’ve entered a new economic environment which rewards the ability to reinvent what’s possible throughout an organization every day and it requires collaboration at a level that we’ve never seen before.

Interestingly, a full 96% of respondents also stated that collaborative creativity is their number one priority for winning leadership today. According to Anne Globe, head of worldwide marketing at DreamWorks Animation: “Creativity is simply everyone’s job number one. It’s just that mandatory to our future.”

This palpable emphasis on creativity as a core business driver is likely attributable to the role creativity and innovative communications are playing in globalization and expansion into new markets, with 68 percent of respondents citing creativity as an important engine to inspire new world economic growth.

Notably, according to the survey, the current creativity revolution is spurring a shift in the world’s center of economic gravity from West to East, as many respondents cited the emergence of new economies as the creative and entrepreneurial hubs of tomorrow. Our respondents singled out Africa as the market to watch, citing that its current lack of infrastructure would force leapfrog momentum in creativity and technology. Other markets highlighted for growth were Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

“The nexus of global economic activity is clearly migrating from West to East due to the marriage of creativity and technology spurring entrepreneurial growth and innovation worldwide,” noted Billee Howard, creative development officer of Allison & Partners who spearheaded the C-Factors Index. “As the global playing field is leveled by new technologies, creatively-inspired business and communications will be critical to achieving improved market share and overall enhanced business performance.”

Visit our C-Factors Index microsite to view detailed information on the survey and video interview footage of many notable participants at


Allison & Partners and MDC commissioned a study that was fielded by Noesis, Inc. from September 7 -9, 2011. The study was conducted online among senior and executive-level members of large international corporations (200 employees or more), utilizing a national sample resource. Executive level was qualified as Chairman / Board Member, Partner / Owner, President / CEO / COO, CFO / Controller / Treasurer, CIO / CTO, EVP /SVP, VP / Assistant VP / Principal, and Director. 200 completed surveys were yielded over the course of the study.

About Allison & Partners

Allison & Partners, an MDC Partners company, is an international communications firm driven by a collaborative approach to innovation and creativity. The result is freshly imagined, customized approaches that provide concrete, measurable strategies to drive market and executive leadership. Expertise includes consumer PR and marketing, corporate communications, technology and digital media, brand innovation, social impact, public affairs and healthcare. The firm is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in New York, London, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle and Dallas. Allison has a 50-state grassroots network and deep affiliations with quality firms worldwide through MDC Partners (NASDAQ: MDCA, Toronto Stock Exchange: MDZ.A), a progressive marketing and communications network, championing the most innovative entrepreneurial talent. Visit us at:,,,

About MDC Partners, Inc.

MDC is a Business Transformation Organization that utilizes technology, marketing communications, data analytics, insights and strategic consulting solutions to drive meaningful returns on Marketing and Communications Investments for multinational clients in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean.

MDC’s durable competitive advantage is to Empower the Most Talented Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders to Drive Business Success to new levels of Achievement, for both our Clients and our Shareholders, reinforcing MDC's reputation as "The Place Where Great Talent Lives."

MDC Partners' Class A shares are publicly traded on NASDAQ under the symbol "MDCA" and on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "MDZ.A".


Allison & Partners
Stephanie Saffer, 646-428-0620


Allison & Partners
Stephanie Saffer, 646-428-0620