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December 09, 2006

Richard Florida

The Creative Compact

« Rural creativity | Main | Creative Savannah »

We live in a time of great challenge but also of great promise and opportunity. Today, for perhaps the first time in human history, we have the opportunity to align economic and human development. Indeed, our future economic prosperity turns on making the most of each and every human being’s talents and energies. But we cannot realize the full potential of this incredible age simply by relying on the natural evolution of the Creative Economy.  Although it is the source of tremendous innovation and incredible economic potential, it leads inexorably to worsening economic and geographic inequality.

What is needed is a new Creative Compact - a Creative Economy analog to the great social compact of the 1930s, 40s and 50s which expanded and accelerated the Industrial Economy and led to the great golden-age of prosperity. The Creative Compact would expand participation in the Creative Economy to industrial and service workers, leverage new private and public investment in human infrastructure, restructure education around creative endeavor, bolster universities, provide mobile benefits, recast urban policy as a cornerstone of economic policy, and ensure that America remains an open and tolerant nation.

Fundamentally, at its core, the Creative Compact would ensure the right of each and every American to fully develop and utilize their creativity and fully express their values and identity. 

Read the whole thing here: Download creative_compact.pdf

This is my attempt to outline an economic and social agenda for the Creative Economy.  But the development of this agenda depends on the expertise and insights of many, many more people. It needs to be a bottom-up, open-source process.

Your comments and thoughts are very much needed on this critically important issue.


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I think that creativity is a skill and like any skill it can be learned. Just like "emotional intelligence" can be developed and "financial literacy" can be taught, so too creativity. Drucker's 7 sources of innovation, Csickszentmihalyi's advice on creativity, mental patterns from NLP. There has to be a top-down initiative to have people gain the skills of creativity that are found in these systems.


Very interesting.

As I just found out about your book and your blog ( via the Peter Durand Poptech! drawings)in the last few weeks I haven't had time yet to read your book. I'll do so soon.

If you are familiar with the Constitutional theorist and former NSC official, Philip Bobbitt, in_Shield of Achilles_ he posited the emergence of " The Market-State" as a 21st century successor to the nation-state, whose mission was to " maximize opportunity" for its citizens. Your manifesto is an example of a social contract that a " market-state" might attempt to provide.

Regarding education and JETT's comments, creativity is a teachable skill. It requires a greater focus on synthesis and horizontal thinking and exercises designed to generate insight. These are not commonly used in most secondary classrooms which generally work toward analysis and inductive/deductive reasoning. But they could be used quite easily.

Here's an old but highly relevant paper on the epistemology of learning and creative thought via synthesis by the late military strategist, Colonel John Boyd:


Michael Bindner

Rewarding creativity is the most important way to encourage it. This is as much a company management as a development issue. The same is true for educating and valueing the entire workforce and rewarding it equitably.

Finally, one of the great unstated blocks to greater creativity is the not so hidden attitude of some toward Eugenics - especially among darker peoples. The right to have and be supported financially in having children is an important aspect of having more creative people around. Oops, that third child you couldn't have was going to cure cancer or be the hottest new international star. Our bad! There is plenting of planet to go around and, with a little creativity, an income and food distribution system to feed them.

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