Creativity as a measure of national wealth

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word creativity? A painter casting a thoughtful eye at a blank canvas? A sculptor picking up a chisel and approaching a large slab of marble?  A fiction writer leaning on his elbow and looking into the distance from his 15th floor window? How about a couple of mid-level staffers in a major bank thinking of a new and unique financial product?  Or, a kid thinking of a new way to exploit the iPhone by building an application?

All these of course are examples of opportunities for creativity and more and more it’s this quality, this free-form thinking that is proving to be the pathway to better qualities of life.  That’s ironic since artists (the gods of creativity, historically) were typically impoverished.  Richard Florida and his team have come up with what they believe is a better measurement for national wealth.  It’s called the Global Creativity Index and it shows some rather surprising results.  Their measurements are of Technology, Talent, and Tolerance and these are the hallmarks of advanced democracies.  This is my interpretation of the data but it’s easy to draw the linkage just by examining the list.  Sweden on top, followed by the U.S., Finland, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, with Canada rounding out the top seven. While we can argue endlessly about a number of shortcomings in each of those countries, it’s hard to dispute that they do a better job than most other countries at producing the right environment for creativity to flourish.  Think about it, if you need to think of something new, don’t you need to feel you’ve been equipped with appropriate education about the subject?  Isn’t it ideal if you have access to technology that improves your ability to tap into external knowledge?  And finally, isn’t the best enabler an environment where you feel safe to be who you are and express how you think without fear?

About Peter Armaly
I get jazzed by automation, big data, and blockchain tech. Business, technology, and fitness are things I understand. Scotch, wine, food, and fiction are things I appreciate.

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