The Creative Economy: It's Bigger than You Think.

How Will Your Community Compete?

Communities are experiencing unprecedented economic disruptions as interconnected digital technologies proliferate and efficiencies in global markets expands. Human creativity and ingenuity have never been more essential to the economic well being of communities. Demand for creative goods and services – and the creative economy in general – is growing by leaps and bounds. Creative startups are increasingly leading economic opportunities for regions. According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the creative/copyright industries’ 2011 contributions to the US gross domestic product was nearly $1 trillion USD. BEA estimates that $504billion of our nation’s GDP stem from arts and culture, a subset of the creative industries.

The creative economy of the US now employs over 27 million individuals. Globally, according to UNESCO, the creative industries grew throughout the Great Recession despite downturns in manufacturing, construction, and high tech. Around the globe the creative industries are expanding. Measurements of exports of creative products demonstrate this growth:

Creative Entrepreneurs are found across the creative industries in music, fashion, design, film, cuisine, architecture, tourism, museums and cultural centers…wherever human creativity, technology and3-vc-deals digital media, and artistic expression thrive, creative entrepreneurs are building businesses. Notable entrepreneurial successes in the creative economy include Etsy, Netflix, Entertainment Arts (EA), Pixar, Adobe, and Flickr.

2014 data show that three of the top VC-backed companies in terms of ROI were in the creative industries: advertising (WhatsApp), culinary (Seamless), and photography (GoPro).

The question is, how will communities be competitive in this shifting global economy?

In New Mexico we are fortunate to be starting from an economy that never really developed.  (NM is perennially ranked as poorest or next to poorest state in US.) So, instead of having to throw out the old, we have to start from step 1. Which is turning out to be easier than starting from Step – 1 which is where folks in the Rust Belt seem to starting from.  But some communities are adapting faster than others.  Why is that? What do they do or know? Who are their leaders? What are examples of communities successfully shifting to the creative and innovation economy – away from a manufacturing economy?  I’m looking for great examples – send me your ideas and examples!