Creatives Unite!

Truth be told, I don’t often read the Harvard Business Review. The price is obscene, and I often find the typical article … ponderous. On the other hand, I’ve long been dragging a book by Carnegie Mellon prof Richard Florida, unread, all over the world, and the current HBR had an article by him in its October issue. So, at loose ends in the SF airport, I picked up and paid for the rag and read. Indeed, the article was ponderous, but the gist was thought-provoking. So I’ll either titillate you to dig further with what follows, or at least save you both the price of the book and the price of an issue of the HBR. Hence, from “America’s Looming Creativity Crisis,” by Richard Florida:

“The Dawn of the Creative Age”: “There’s a whole new class of workers in the U.S. that’s 38-million strong: the creative class. At its core are the scientists, engineers, architects, designers, educators, artists, musicians and entertainers whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology, or new content. Also included are the creative professions of business and finance, law, healthcare and related fields, in which knowledge workers engage in complex problem solving that involves a great deal of independent judgment. Today the creative sector of the U.S. economy, broadly defined, employs more than 30% of the workforce (more than all of manufacturing) and accounts for more than half of all wage and salary income (some $2 trillion)—almost as much as the manufacturing and service sectors together. Indeed, the United States has now entered what I call the Creative Age.

“The global talent pool and the high-end, high margin creative industries that used to be the sole province of the U.S., and a critical source of its prosperity, have begun to disperse around the globe. A host of countries—Ireland, Finland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, among them—are investing in higher education, cultivating creative people, and churning out stellar products, from Nokia phones to the Lord of the Rings movies. Many of these countries have learned from past U.S. success and are shoring up efforts to attract foreign talent—including Americans. … The United States may well be the Goliath of the twentieth century global economy, but it will take just half a dozen twenty-first-century Davids to begin to wear it down. To stay innovative, America must continue to attract the world’s sharpest minds. And to do that, it needs to invest in the further development of its creative sector. Because wherever creativity goes—and, by extension, wherever talent goes—innovation and economic growth are sure to follow.”

What do you think?

Tom Peters posted this on October 26, 2004, in Talent.
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