Creativity and Innovation: What Exactly is the Creative Economy?

Creativity and Innovation: What Exactly is the Creative Economy?

Over the past decade or so, more and more types of jobs have been added to those contributing to the creative economy. Between Richard Florida and John Howkins, it may appear that everyone is currently a member of the creative class.

Essentially, what we are experiencing is a transition from back breaking labor to mental adeptness. Our jobs require us to think, not just do. In the past, most jobs were agrarian. People lived by working the land. They would tend fields, cultivate livestock or have a job related in some sense to these types of occupations.

During the Industrial Revolution, things changed. New inventions made the tools of old more efficient. Subsequently, fewer and fewer people were needed in the fields. Displaced workers then migrated to cities were factories popped up and a new type of work force was created. These jobs were low to medium skilled monotonous occupations where people spent their days doing repetitious things. The work was tough and physical.

But as technology has changed the nature of doing things, hard labor seems to be losing ground to white collar jobs. And still, the nature of those jobs is changing. We work on our computers more and move around less. Our jobs are becoming less defined and our mental abilities to adapt are becoming more valued. We are being asked to solve problems, not perform tasks. That’s the creative economy.

These days we have to use our brains for more than memorization. It’s not good enough to just know something, computers can do that. Now, we have to conceptualize things and to re-conceptualize things.

John Howkins listed in his book, “The Creative Economy,” that: advertising, architecture, art, craft, design, fashion, film, music, performing arts, publishing, research and development, software, toys & games, TV & radio, video games are all part of the creative economy. Then, Richard Florida went as far to say that “More than 35 million people are currently employed in creative class work in fields like science, technology, and engineering; business, finance, and management; law, health care, and education; and arts, culture, media, and entertainment.”

In a sense, we are all becoming part of the creative economy as the less creative jobs recede into the background of the work force. Cities are growing with new, inventive people who see innovation as a way of life. It’s an exciting time.

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