As a starter, it depends on the context, so let us revisit some general definitions first as we can always refine the absolute definitions later:
“Sustainability is the general capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of responsibility, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of stewardship , the responsible management of resource use” – wikipedia
In this case, I am thinking of usage of competencies and professional resources (talents!) – individuals, groups, organizations or nations.
“Competencies are a set of skills that are essential to perform certain functions or roles. Each role normally needs a set of competencies in a number of areas to be effective and to succeed including a set of behaviors that encompasses skills, knowledge, abilities, and personal attributes that, taken together, are critical to successful work accomplishment. Competencies may be defined organizationally or on an individual basis.” – yourdictionary.com
The whole idea of a competency view of anything assumes a professional role based thinking
Creativity covers originality of thought, new expressions, imagination originative; productive, covering things as new innovative ways…
Needless to demonstrate the business case or start an obsolete argumentation, creativity and innovation for products, service and business will be imperative success factor in the future.
If we bring these three words together, sustainable + creative + competencies, we get a useful filter for a nation, a company or an individual to deploy when creating – or fine-tuning – its capability, to become/stay competitive, in an increasingly global service industry.
To succeed fit values, systems and structures matters that are more agile than today and in a sense a bottom up revolution may drive this as the next generation of workers are expecting a totally different psychological contract with its future employer, whilst the existing organizations has a large degree of disengaged people whose talent is sub-optimized and/or wasted in times of cost focus.
There are a lot of drivers accelerating the need to transform the existing organizations to be globally competitive, as they already use skills and professionals that are globally available. At the same time we need to foster a community for entrepreneurship that starts right from the beginning, building a pipeline of SMEs that will deliver service globally. Making decisions on core and non –core capabilities will lead to increasing offshoring / outsourcing and ability to work in virtual teams with other cultures.
Hence, when I say I support the shift of building smarter and adaptive organizations & people via sustainable & creative competencies to succeed and endure globally, now and beyond, it covers a lot of traditional disciplines but it has a fragmented set of stakeholders. Ultimately it is the CEOs responsibility; practically it often ends up on HR table or in a transformation office to fix and the agenda is comprehensive from implementing new systems for talent management, a new operating model, new behaviors, new decision making capabilities, cultural alignment and maybe even new gamification layers to manage performance of the extended and globally integrated enterprise.
Normally, you can’t do everything, but whatever you do needs to be aligned with that longer vision, and I simply love that agenda.
Related inspirational links:
CForbes on orporate Culture, the only truly sustainable competitive advantage
Sustainable Competency-Oriented Human Resource Development – a case
Our Sustainable Competencies (Boston Consulting Group)