Monday, September 22, 2008

Creative Communities and the New Economy

Today’s economy getting worse and the future is looking grim. Compared to what once was - where the US was the global economic leader, companies and manufacturing were thriving, and the wage earning potential was strong.

Today, a far different tale is being heard from the economic leaders and analysts. Manufacturing is down and the economy is struggling. What will the future hold? West Virginia is not waiting to find out. We are building on a new emerging economy and spurring creative growth. One example is the Create WV Conference chaired by Jeff James, Creative Communities Team, A Vision Shared.

More than 250 West Virginians responded to a vision and attended the first Create WV Conference in 2007. Since then, the creative spark has led to new energy and activity in communities across the state, from Huntington to Hinton, from Wheeling to Welch.

This year at the second annual Create WV Conference, communities that have developed their own creative vision and are acting on it will be celebrated. These communities of creative thinkers are taking matters into their own hands and forming plans for their own creative communities.

Many people share this vision. Creative communities can be described as those communities that take ownership over their own future. It is a group of people who come together to creatively solve problems and identify unique opportunities. These people are action oriented, entrepreneurial and take risks for a better future. They embrace new economy principles to succeed in today’s globally connected marketplace.

This West Virginia initiative is part of a larger global debate on the role of creative communities, or the creative class, and its relation to growth in the new economy.

The concept of the creative class was popularized by the research and writings of Richard Florida, Ph.D., who as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University published The Rise of the Creative Class and The Flight of the Creative Class. The book A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink, has championed the belief that we are already moving into the Conceptual Age, in contrasts to the prior Information and Industrial Ages. One of reasons the creative economy/society is different from the industrial and agricultural economies is that it relies on a resource (creativity), that every single human being has.

What do you think is possible for WV? When you think of the state’s future - and your future - what do you see?

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