Creativity: The Brightest Spot in the Economy

Posted by Terry

An article by Linda Naiman entitled “Reports on The Creative Economy” concludes that, according to recent reports from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the “Creative Economy” is undergoing unprecedented growth compared with traditional services and manufacturing.

The Creative Economy: How People make Money from Ideas (2001) by John Howkins defines creative industries as “the sum total of four sectors: the copyright, the patent, trademark, and design industries – together constitute the creative industries and the creative economy.”

Economist Richard Florida suggests that America’s (and Canada’s) workforce advantage lies in our ability to solve problems, forge new frontiers and quickly adjust to changing economic forces. The creative economy recognizes everyone is inherently creative and that creativity is a driving force of innovation.

Here is what got my attention about the creative global market:

  • It’s forecast to grow by 10%
  • It’s the leading sector in advanced countries
  • It’s stimulating the urban regeneration of cities
  • New ventures for developing countries leap frog into value-added areas

And from the Conference Board of Canada, July 2008:

“Not only does the arts and cultural industry make a valuable economic contribution in its own right, it also stimulates creative activity in other sectors of the economy,” said Michael Bloom, vice-president of organizational effectiveness and learning. “A dynamic culture sector plays a key role as a magnet for talent, enhances economic output, and acts as a catalyst for prosperity.”

Our future depends on our ability to cultivate imagination, creativity and innovation, to foster social and economic growth, and improve our quality of life.  Yet our current government has cut 60 million in funding for arts and culture programs by citing the need for good governance and the need for fiscal responsibility. This isn’t an either or proposition. We need both. Clearly, in this economic climate, the same it even truer for the U.S!

Just two years after these sentiments were spoken, and in current light of the economic and political issues we are all faced with today, it is good to note that America’s strength still lies in its creativity and innovation. And those traits, which have distinguished the American spirit for so many generations, may still guide us toward a brighter economy.


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