The emerging creative economy …

I'm a big believer that we are on cusp of a change from the information economy to the creative economy. We've been through these kinds of changes before with the shift from agriculture to industrial to information and now to the emerging creative economy.

small businesses emerging creative economy

Why do I believe that this change is coming?

We've seen jobs in traditional industries dry up and other jobs move overseas. Jobs that we that we would never consider as being offshored have experienced the change. As an example, many large law firms are not using staff in low cost geographies to draft documents, perform research and dig through the reams of documents previously done by lawyers and their staff. The last x-ray you received in the local emergency room was most likely reviewed by a doctor in India. Don't get me wrong. I'm not against an offshore strategy. It opens up new opportunities for those that are ready.

So, where is a worker to look for new opportunities?

The World Bank estimated that the emerging creative economy contributed as much as 7 per cent of the world GDP in 2005. The forecast is for growth rates averaging 10 per cent per annum in the coming years. It is the fastest growing segment of the economy.

The workers of the future will recognize that their success does not lie in their ability to learn a skill (writing software, writing legal briefs, reading x-rays, providing technical support, etc) and then apply it repeatedly to pre-defined problems. Instead, success will be in their ability to use creativity and innovation to solve unique problems, forge new frontiers, invent killer products and quickly adjust to changing market demands and economic forces.

Don't discount your ability to be creative and therefore successful in the new economy. Creativity is a skill that that you can learn, practice and become proficient at.

Creative occupations in the future will include innovation champions, engineers (specialized in product concept development), educators (specialized in teaching creativity) and scientists as well as those involved in the creative arts, entertainment and professions such as architecture and product design. Even in today's market, data show that people who work in creative occupations earn an average of $20,000 a year more than those in non-creative jobs.

Question to answer (post your thoughts/feedback in the comments) …

  • What do you think are the “jobs of the future”?
  • What are the critical skills needed to be successful in the emerging creative economy?
  • What are you doing to prepare?


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3 thoughts on “The emerging creative economy …

  1. I think the pronouncement of the death of the so-called information economy is a bit premature. Consider if you will that the transference of many of the knowledge-worker type jobs into the domain of outsource skill is entirely dependent on information infrastructure as an enabling technology. The same will be true in the innovation space. Yes, there will be, and already are, innovation specialists–masters of sustainable innovation practice responsible for promoting the development of innovation competency within organizations. But, the heavy lifting of innovation will be done by subject matter experts that are enabled by information technology–technology that doesn’t just help them to think outside the box, but that actually expands their box so they can better find and recognize breakthrough concepts.

  2. I worked in automotive for 17 years before I said “I can’t do this anymore”. Before I left I recall chatting with a service customer who worked at a refrigeration company making compressors. I said “Refrigeration is so cool, it’s the same principle that your cars air conditioning works on” then I asked him “How long he had worked there?”, “25 years he replies” then I ask him “If he knew how refrigeration works?” he says “No”. So then I press further: “In 25 years you never once looked up how refrigeration works or even care to know?”. “Nope”
    Most people don’t care. How can they innovate/think outside the box? They just don’t have thoughts that lead them to consider: Is there a better way to do this?. It’s sad. Many people don’t know what causes a lunar eclipse. They don’t know why the sky is blue.
    What the future holds: I think that the days of working 50 years at one company and getting the golden watch at retirement is gone. Employees will be brought in a small contract basis. Complete a job and move on. The best thing a person can do is to never stop learning all you can. You never know which one of those skills you have just mastered will come in handy to help you land the next big contract that will put food on your table. Get used to the idea that: As world oil availability is on the decline that working an out of town job with a long commute just may not be possible when transportation costs keep rising. You just may have to create your own business and that is going to take extra brain power. You may be expected to know why the sky is blue =)

  3. I agree with both Todhunter’s assessment that the information age is still upon us and a necessary component of innovation, and with Shipman’s insight that the ability to learn and keep learning is essential.
    Creative economy is going to lead the way, but I believe the driving force in local and world economies will be rooted as well in understanding the culture, both locally and worldwide.
    Emerging nations, like India have a segment of their population that is moving into the technological age which brings with it the pull to run after what they have seen as the world’s definition of success: homes, food, cars, medical care, worldly possessions…. but, the values of the generations in India may differ greatly and obedience and respect for parents plays a strong role.
    We must know the values and mindset of the people who are the market for our economies. I believe we will see economies within economies. Even as the Western mindset is invading the East the Eastern mindset is having influence in the West. So even within our own culture in America you find people with very different values.
    People will pay money to obtain what they value. One person may value keeping the rain forests and eating locally grown foods. Another may value having the latest in technology available at their fingertips. Another may value a fine home and nice car. What they value are the things they will spend their money on. These are the influences that drive economies.
    However, we must also consider that what everyone wants underneath is love and security, peace and joy. We do not want to be alone.
    Our technology has isolated us. Television and movies make us feel that we are with someone and yet keeps us alone in our thoughts as we partake. The home computer, video games, reading books, all have isolated us. Now the move of technology is to develop technology that brings us together, even if only artificially and partially (as in internet role playing games), because we will pay money for that which makes us feel loved and accepted and connected.
    When I look at Starbucks and the trend of coffee shops that has become a big player in our economy, I see that coffee is not the only thing people are buying there, nor is it all that Starbucks is selling.
    Starbucks offers us a place to be together with others even when we are alone, a place to potentially connect, a place where, if the employees do their job well, we are known by our name or at least our preferences, which is a part of who we are. Starbucks is selling image, acceptance, a pleasant atmosphere and they cater to the technology bug in us by offering free wireless internet. Coffee shop settings with wood and leather and fireplaces give a feeling of home, a place of welcome. We can be alone, go to Starbucks with our lap-top or a book and sit and sip a capiccino and feel that we are not alone. For all of this we will pay $3-5 for a cup of coffee that we could get elsewhere for around a dollar.
    So it is a combination of many factors that determine what will sell in our ever-changing economy. It is going to take creativity as never before to make the market. It is going to take combinations of factors that previously may not have meant much in the economy and it will take creative individuals who are willing to take risks.

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