Q&A with Elena Baturina
In the most recent issue of eSociety, Volume 7 Issue 3, SBID spoke to Russian entrepreneur and the founder of the BE OPEN Foundation, Elena Baturina. The international creative think-tank, BE OPEN has recently collaborated with SBID to organise a student competition with a £30,000 cash prize. We find out more about what lead her to the creative industry and how creativity plays a vital role in business and building the future.
What is your own relationship with creativity? How has it enhanced your life?
I’m first of all a businesswoman and entrepreneur. Being involved in a wide spectrum of industries for many years, from construction and manufacturing to hospitality and renewable energy production, I have identified one common thing that lies at the core of a sustainable and productive endeavour and that is creativity.
From the design of a new building or product to a business development idea – it is the originality of thought that is required. That is why I believe that developing creative thinking in young people is so important, for they will shape of our future. Working with students and children in that sphere is at the heart of my BE OPEN Foundation, which was formed as a cultural and social initiative, aiming to bridge the gap between the great minds of our time and the promising new minds of the next generation, providing the necessary link to the knowledge and experience.
Do you think that, in general, creative skills are viewed as being as important to our economy and financial prosperity as, say, business or IT skills?
I think we are getting there slowly but gradually. The progress is definitely obvious here in the UK. As I already mentioned, creative thinking is at the heart of all my businesses and I see it as a vital ingredient to every aspect of life. It’s important that the business leaders and politicians of tomorrow are able to have a, let me say, well-designed vision for what they would like to achieve and not solely rely on balance sheets. Injecting creativity into your thinking can give you a totally new approach – and sometimes that is the difference between success and failure.
Why have you teamed up with SBID to offer this fantastic opportunity for the winner of the competition?
The world is a competitive place, especially in the creative industry, and sometimes we all need a little help to achieve our goals. BE Open and SBID are both of the opinion that if we really want to make a difference then we have to offer students a very real, life-changing opportunity and this competition seemed like the perfect way to do that. The £30,000 prize is a life-changing amount of money and will either help a student launch their own creative business or pay their student debts, so they feel free to be creative rather than worrying about money.
Discover more about why Elena strives to support young creatives in the creative industry, what she predicts for the next generation of designers and how she thinks a creative and well-designed environment can influence the way we act, feel and think.
Elena Baturina, Founder of the BE OPEN Foundation
This feature originally appeared in Volume 7 Issue 3 of the official SBID interior design magazine, eSociety.