cities | April 29, 2013

Creativity Is Our New Economy: A New Keynote From Richard Florida [VIDEO]

How do we really create wealth and prosperity? That's the pressing question that cities speaker Richard Florida presented to his audience in a new keynote at the RSA in London. His answer? The one source of economic wealth that we all inherently share—and that we can put to the most profitable use—is our creativity. "Creativity," he says, "is our new economy." Building prosperity isn't about moving money around, speculating in the stock market, or about housing prices, he argues. Rather, "it's [about] our ability to harness our own creativity, to leverage the creativity of others, and to come together in great conurbations of cities and urban areas," he says. A prosperous economy, he adds, comes from "[putting] our creativity to use to build new technologies, to build new enterprises, to build new public goods, to build new ways of living."

Right now, he tells the crowd, we are living in the greatest period of economic transformation in all of human history. Historically, our economies boomed thanks to the combination of what economists call the great factors of production: land, labor, and capital. However, something changed over the last 20 or 30 years. We shifted into what many people refer to as an information, post-industrial, or knowledge-based economy. But Florida says none of those descriptors tell an accurate picture of the times we are now living in. Instead, he says, we are living in a "creative economy." The most valuable resource we have isn't the technology we create or the "knowledge we pump into our heads," he argues. It's our ability to think creatively and harness that ability into other resources that is the most valuable asset to our economy today. And to effectively make use of that resource we have to redesign our cities so that no human potential goes to waste.

In the talk, Florida takes the audience through a historical tour of the development of the global economy. He provides an in-depth framework to explain how we got to where we are today and how things are beginning to shift. An expert on the impact that creativity and urbanism has on improving economic conditions, Florida maps out the importance of embracing this invaluable human resource. In his breakthrough book, The Rise of the Creative Class, and in his riveting keynotes, he teaches us what it takes to succeed in this new creativity-based economy. And, why tapping into our human potential will help us excel far beyond our expectations.

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economics | April 28, 2013