In the past few weeks we have had talks about the economy dominating radio, television and online social media discussions.
And why not? Finance is so pervasive in our lives to the extent that people will do anything under the sun in order to have a good financial position. We wake up at dawn- literally every day- to rush to our offices to do some work to either get paid or pay others.
Indeed, everything is about finance: How would the church function if money were not available? How would you pay for your family holiday if you had no money? How would you pay for the children’s school fees if the money was not enough?
These and many other questions occupy our minds every day, and most times, the questions motivate us to do a lot more to, at least, enjoy some comfort.
A country, however, is a much larger family unit and, therefore, would certainly have more problems than the smaller family unit (unless of course you belong to one of those families whose net worth is more than the GDP of some developing countries!).
Significantly also, it is the case that the problems of countries have direct or indirect effects on the general wellbeing of the people living in that country.
So, for instance, a growing country, that is, one that has strong economic indicators such as reducing unemployment and generally stable macro-economic fundamentals, always has a satisfied population.
Now imagine the opposite! Where the economic fundamentals are not strong enough- rising unemployment, rising inflation, weak infrastructural base, depreciating currency- you tend to have jitters, if you are the economic manager and sleepless nights, when you are an ordinary citizen.
There is no doubt that in the past few years- possibly three years ago- Ghana’s economy had been quite wobbly. An economy that had maintained single digit inflation for close to 15 months suddenly found it difficult to control its inflation rate.
Rising cost of goods and services comes with some serious repercussions. In the short term, it distorts planning and in the long term, almost invariably reduces the disposable incomes of people to the extent that those on very tight budgets would have to do serious financial adjustments before they could make ends meet.
That is the reality. It is in the face of the effects of bad economic fundamentals on the general population that l believe strongly that there is always the need for consensus building in economic policy formulation to drive a sense of ownership of those policies.
Why is this so important?
Well, it is not just important but also a necessary condition to guarantee the success of significant economic policies.
When people are part of the decision-making process, they normally would want to see to the successful implementation of the proposed solutions.
They do not see the intended programme as “alien” to them, but rather something that has been thought through by them, and most significantly becomes their own ideas.
Building consensus on the best solutions, however, must not always involve doing the same things over and over again! You cannot do that and yet expect different results.
That will not work! As innovation is the highest kite one can fly, it is always important that in the search for solutions, an attempt is made to encourage innovation by creating an atmosphere for creativity.
But before l go further, let us quickly remind ourselves of the terminology.
Creativity or the creative intelligence is that process of assembling ideas by recombining elements already known but wrongly assumed to be unrelated to each other.
The interesting part of this process is that creativity is a process, implying, among other things, that it is more like a skill than an attitude and that you can get better at it with practice.
The solutions are not far from us, all we need is to start generating the right ideas to become creative thinkers.
An idea or ideas will make the difference in our generation- thinking outside the box.
Ideas, indeed, are the spark of life! Don’t you think so? Sir Winston Churchill once echoed the importance of opportunity recognition (thinking outside the box) when he said “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
You have got to be that individual who is willing and ready to look at every situation from the opportunities it offers.
When there is a serious flooding in an area, for example, the pessimist will only see systemic government failures, whereas beyond that, the optimist will see the provision of products and services to either prevent a future situation from recurring or helping those in distress.
That is opportunity recognition.
Let us recognise the opportunities the current economic malaise offer so that we can all become part of the solution by coming up with creative ideas.
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