Creativity Is the Key Driver We Need to Reboot Our Economy

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), July 14, 2012 | Go to article overview
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Creativity Is the Key Driver We Need to Reboot Our Economy


Byline: DYLANJONESEVANS

THE American academic Richard Florida, whose work should be compulsory reading for every economic policymaker in Wales, stated in his seminal book The Rise of the Creative Class that "access to talented and creative people is to modern business what access to coal and iron ore was to steel-making."

Given this, you have to wonder why politicians and policymakers are not doing more to encourage greater creativity in the economy. Indeed, that was the subject of research released last week by the software company Adobe.

The State of Create report was commissioned not only to get a handle on how important creativity is to the UK economy but, more importantly, how it affects people in their everyday lives.

The main finding is that while a high percentage of people in the UK agree that creativity is the key to driving economic growth, we are not living up to our creative potential as a nation ie 63% of adults consider themselves to be someone who is creative, but only a third feel they are living up to this potential.

And what are the main reasons for this perception? Four out of five believe that there is an increased pressure in work on being productive rather than creative. In addition, risk aversion is seen as a barrier with "playing it safe" being the strategy usually adopted by organisations which results in those who are innovative and entrepreneurial having their ideas stifled by those who are less creative.

They also feel there was a lack of time to create new things and that they cannot afford to be creative. Indeed, a third of adults wanted more time in the workplace to think creatively and to be trained to use different creativity tools. And for those companies that have encouraged such thinking, there has been commercial payback. Take, for example, the policy of internet giant Google which lets its employees spend one day each work week focusing on their own projects and which has resulted in creating half of the company's new products and services.

Nearly two-thirds of the respondents also believed that creativity was being stifled by the UK education system and while young people are seen to be more creative than those over the age of 35, they need to be given the opportunity to develop creative skills even within a formal educational environment, especially through greater use of social media tools.

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Creativity Is the Key Driver We Need to Reboot Our Economy
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