This What-Are-You-Reading post was written by Perry Hines, Chief Operating Officer at the Indiana Black Expo, and Secretary of the Indiana Humanities Council’s Board of Directors.
Sometimes an oldie can truly be a goodie. Every so often, I like to go back in time, survey the many bookshelves in our home and take a stroll down memory lane. Recently, I became a little restless and wanted to revisit an old classic: Richard Florida’s Rise of the Creative Class. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, here are the CliffsNotes:
According to Florida, there are three conditions that encourage economic growth in the post-industrial economy: technology, talent, and tolerance (the three Ts). These elements are embodied in a new configuration of workers and constitute what Florida calls the Creative Class. The Creative Class is really composed of individuals in certain kinds of professions that signify the shape of things to come. These folks are scientists and engineers, university professors, poets and architects. The Creative Class also includes people in design, education, arts, music and entertainment, whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology and/or creative content. What they do, their talents and skills, are widely transferable and useful on a broad scale, as with products that are sold and used on a wide scale.
The Creative Class’ careers usually require a high degree of formal education and one of the main functions of their job is to think and to create new approaches for fixing the problem at hand.
The Creative Class is also known for its departure from traditional workplace attire and behavior. Members of the Creative Class are starting to set their own hours and dress codes in the workplace, often reverting to more relaxed, casual attire instead business suits and ties. People of the Creative Class are working for themselves and setting their own hours, no longer sticking to the 9-5 standard. Independence is also highly regarded among the members of the Creative Class and expected in the work place.
The “Creativity Index” is another tool that Florida uses to describe how members of the Creative Class are attracted to a city. The Creativity Index looks at elements such as the Creative Class’ share of the workforce; innovation, measured as patents per capita; and the high tech industry.
The diverse and individualistic lifestyles that the Creative Class enjoys involve active participation and experiential activities that are multidimensional. Florida uses the term Street Level Culture to define the kinds of stimulation that the Creative Class enjoys. Street Level Culture is considered as a “teeming blend of cafes, sidewalk musicians, and small galleries and bistros, where it is hard to draw the line between participant and observer, or between creativity and its creators.” Members of the Creative Class enjoy unique experiences like traveling and antique shopping, and they would rather be a participant than a spectator, participating in outdoor activities like bike riding and running.
Are you a member of the Creative Class?