Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue May 4th 2010 at 1:55pm UTC

Resetting at Q

Here’s a really terrific summary of my Q Gathering talk last week in Chicago courtesy of Tim Schraeder.

  • Every single human being is creative.
  • The real challenge of our time is figuring out how to harness that creative energy so that creative furnace inside of each human being is growing.
  • The social categories we impose on ourselves [race, religion, gender ,etc] undermine creativity.

    The Great Reset

    • The most important event of our time is collapse of our financial institutions.
    • We are living through the most momentous opportunities in human history.
    • It’s not a depression, recession, crisis or panic… it really is a reset.
    • We are in a resetting point.
    • “It’s a raw emotion reset…”
    • This thing we are going through won’t be over in a day… don’t believe the hype.
    • The underlying shift we are going through is one of the largest in human history.
    • We come here because we intuit this change is going on and that our society, economy and culture are changing in the most fundamental ways.
    • We see these trends and evolving patterns in our own ways.

    The Old Order

    • Human beings have generated economic wealth throughout all human history.
    • We originally used natural assets by doing agricultural work.
    • We then began to build factories that were fueled by our labor.
    • The move from an agricultural to industrial society was massive and led to two great depressions, two world wars, and the development of work unions.
    • We built the “great golden age of prosperity.”
    • People could earn a living by doing hard factory work.
    • The change we are going through is bigger than that.
    • Just having great farms and having people working in factories isn’t enough.

    Rise of the Creative

    • A growing number of people no longer work in factories, they are working with their minds.
    • We’ve shifted into a knowledge economy… an information age, a post-production era.
    • What binds us together and makes us human is our shared creativity.
    • We stand on the shoulders of giants.
    • We cooperate and collaborate, and we have a storehouse of creative history and a future.
    • The economic crisis grew a creative economy.
    • The creative communities grew up in the shell of an old order.
    • The old order is crumbling. The first place it fell apart was in popular culture.
    • Movements of racial equality, the student movement, etc. in the 60s were a giant temper tantrum as society unleashed pent up creative energy that was being held back by the system.
    • The legacy of the 60s is places like Silicon Valley.
    • It gave rise to new ways of working and innovating.
    • In the 80s and 90s, working and living became more blended.
    • We created whole new sectors and the creative sector became the leading sector.
    • The creative economy generates 50% of the income in our society.
    • Our whole way of life ended in October of 2008.
    • We used to have the notion of the “American dream”.. suburban house filled with material possessions.
    • The problem with the “American dream” is that the demand for material goods continued to grow.
    • People questioned this way of life.
    • 60% of Americans said they’d like to like in a walkable neighborhood.
    • The way we live our lives is completely different.
    • In the old order, people not only got wealth from working in factories, they got purpose and meaning through institutions… schools, churches, etc.
    • So much meaning in that old order was channeled through material possessions.
    • We are moving from a material stage to a new age of post-materialism.
    • Our confidence and trust in every kind of institution is being annihilated, [business, presidency, media, etc].

    How do we engage people in a creative economy?

    • We talk about creating good jobs in America. We talk about getting manufacturing back in our country.
    • Why?
    • We should be actively creating opportunity for people.
    • The creative class are in good shape.
    • We have 65 million people who serve us every day who make ½ of what factory works make and a 1/3  of what creatives make.
    • We turned factory jobs into good jobs and built a society out of them.
    • Every community has to make a commitment to bring creativity and innovation into factory jobs.
    • Eliminate gross income inequality.
    • We need to create a new kind of society for true creativity.
    • Give people the right to use their talent and creativity to live the life they truly desire.
    • We’re not after more material wealth, it doesn’t fill the void.

    Purpose and meaning in our new creative economy come from three core things:

    1 – Meaningful work

    • Human emotional happiness requires more than money.
    • People want to do meaningful work – work that challenges and engages, and working with teams we resonate with.
    • We want have control of the terms of our work.
    • Give people the freedom and flexibility to do their day-to-day work.

    2 – Social Relationships

    3 – Community

    • Communities we can resonate with are important.
    • People need to be in a place in a community that they love.
    • How do we provide purpose and meaning in your community?
    • How do you find the place for you?
    • The place we live is the hinge point of the creative age.
    • We used to say: “We’ve gone where the company has sent us…”
    • It’s not companies that move the economy… cities do.
    • You create something new through community.
    • A community is where different people and different kind of activities are going on.
    • Cities turn out trends and new ideas.
    • It’s not companies, it’s our communities.
    • We don’t ask people what they do, we ask where the live.
    • It’s the places we live that create meaning.

    The cities where people are most effective do two things:

    1 – They are open minded, diverse and tolerant.

    • They let people find their place for them.
    • They are open to everyone.

    2 – They are increasingly livable and invest not only in historic, cultural assets; they preserve their natural environments.

    • We are living through the most transformative moment of our time.
    • If we look down deep and work now, we can begin making great communities that make great people.
    • We can build something that is truly remarkable.

    We should pair our talents with our burdens.

    17 Responses to “Resetting at Q”

    1. Jon Says:

      What you have said makes a great deal of sense on an intuitive level. When you speak from the heart, people just know it. They do. I have thought for about 3-4 years that we are on the cusp of something transformational. Time will tell. Thank you for your work.

    2. gary Says:

      Sounds like social engineering in the making

    3. Jeffrey C Says:

      Good stuff for contemplation, but I remain skeptical of any proclamations of “the most important event in our times” that are made in the present. Only history really tells us what were the most important events of our times.

      We might think we are experiencing them as they happen, but frequently the significance of some events has been far less over time than what was originally proclaimed. What seems to be a big deal in the moment, often deflates in staying power just like a balloon.

    4. JimmyTH Says:

      I’m skeptical that creative pursuits can employ the majority of the population. Artistic endeavors are the marks of wealthy cultures which support individuals who don’t contribute to society in purely practical ways. Poor societies don’t have time for art. Everybody’s out there hunting and gathering, farming and building things. If we’re experiencing financial meltdown the economic support for creative pursuit will disappear. When virtual food becomes real food, that may change.

    5. Christian Says:

      This sounds nice but lets take a look at some dominant California and Nevada creative industries and their employees.

      Hollywood and San Francisco and Las Vegas arent just Movies, and Tourism. Lets take a look at the underbelly of the creative class:
      1) PORN AND PROSTITUTION creates alot of wealth but they are all free agents and there are as many poor actors, stage hands, models, etc working as minimum wage waitors for their creative jobs.
      2) The gap between the rich and the poor is extremely large in the creative class as we see from the gap between the minimum wage extras and the famous actors.
      3) They are largely poor, insecure, unstable, easily exploited and have no moral compass for their personal happiness.
      4) Gambling, Drugs, Alcohalism and most other vices are rampant
      5) The creative class may be more social but they are uncommitted. Divorce is high. Abortion has little thought or meaning. Abandoned children is rampant since their just pursuing their own destiny.

      The truth is very different than Mr. Florida would like to paint but he is very logical in his analysis and methodology. The banks and the media are in no danger of losing their control over the economy or the values war. Its the banks that are offshoring manufacturing and its dangerous. Manufacturing lot sizes are growing smaller, more customized, product life is shrinking, environmental impacts are shrinking, energy usage is shrinking and becoming more renewable…and all this we are sending over seas to create a class of free agent bohemian creative class that has to work as part time burger flippers or walmart greeters between their creative bookings.

      Welcome to Mr. Florida’s real world.

      The off shoring of manufacturing is extremely dangerous because it is a lynchpin of value added creativity, specifically since it is

    6. Adrian Says:

      Love the concept of us heading towards a ‘great reset’. I hope you’re right.

    7. Geoff Bloomington Says:

      ya sure thing…. do you think the Chinese will do the same?

    8. Joyce Says:

      Enjoyed your ideas on Coast to Coast. Money is in too few hands
      with those closest to it making more than others. We need a new economic system that allows prosperity for all. We need respect for all work and power for all. The competition of business has been business killing, instead of cooperation. 14 cable companies tried to install their systems in downtown Seattle, but never envisioned wifi in their business models.

    9. Tom Says:

      Good Luck with this pie in the sky look at the economic breakdown we’re witnessing. This may all be laid at the feet of our thoroughly corrupt government. Nothing will change until all those who allowed or caused this situation are relieved of their office and influence. None of them will submit to a restructuring of our tax code and other redistributive measures that poison our system presently.
      Make it your business to make this change begin during the upcoming election.

    10. John Says:

      Remeber the anchient Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times”. Society might be changing and MAYBE it will change in the manner you describe but it won’t change easily. Lots of suffering will occur during the lengthy transition (10-30 years) and this turmoil will be felt worldwide. The US may lose its pre-eminance in the world (you might say ‘good’ but you haven’t lived it yet) and handed over to China (who else? Europe? Not likely). The US is kinda a bully in the world but we care, China is also a bully and doesn’t care. (Do modern nations who dominate learn to care? Maybe….) The keepers of the status quo will NOT go gently either.
      I have come to realize that my possessions possess me and am in the process of getting rid of stuff. I figure that we live in a society where you can go to get food/water 24/7, drop off your laundry and pick it up cleaned and folded, televisions are now thin, computers are small. Theoretically, people could live in a van rather than a house. Didn’t say you HAD to, but compared to the 50’s its more possible. Wo, what is important? Documents like passports, pictures and family history, writing I have done, books, tools of my trade and many of thses can be stored electronically in the ‘cloud’. So, ask yourself what would you REALLY want to save if your house was on fire.

    11. Dennis Gralike Says:

      I listened to the entire program “Coast to Coast” last night and agreed with every topic discussed concerning the demise of American families and the intrusion of corporate/financial interests.

      The efforts and achievements of Organized Labor over the last 125 years was completely ignored…So was the devastating affects of an orchestrated and insidious attack by corporate interests to defeat the most simple of democratic principles. The right to organize.

      “The history of the labor movement should be taught in every school across this country. America is a living testimonial to what free men and free women, organized in free democratic trade unions can do to make a better life…We ought to be proud of it”.
      Hubert H. Humphry, 1968

    12. Tom Says:

      I think that Dennis should take a ride through Detroit and observe the tactics of the SEIU before singing the praises of organized labor.

    13. Dennis Gralike Says:

      Fine, blame the UAW for GM moving operations to Mexico where labor laws and environmental laws are non-existent. Blame unions for a Republican congress giving tax-credits to corporations for moving operations overseas…Blame SEIU for Wal-Mart hiring 12 year old Asians girls @ 23 cents an hour and tying them to sewing Machines for 16 hours a day…While Alice Walton buys another $78 million dollar Rembrandt and you pay for her employee healthcare through Medicare because her employees live below the poverty level.

      Why can’t UAW members live in cardboard boxes and Volvos in dirt fields next to toxic streams? Greedy Unions!

      Uneducated anti-unionists like Tom have done more to destroy America than foreign terrorists could ever dream.

    14. Tom Says:

      Could this be the same Dennis Gralike who is the ‘Director of Training at Electrical Workers Local 1′ in St Louis?

      If so, I think we know his point of view and allegiance may be severely biased.

      In the spirit of disclosure, Is dat you Dennis?

    15. Dennis Gralike Says:

      Yes…It’s me. So you know how to use Google.
      Now, disclose your bias instead of hiding under a pseudonym like a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.

      PS…I became involved with the union movement long before I became IBEW #1 Director of Training.
      And I work on the management side of the table. As a union employer, I pay employee health care benefits from a collective agreement negotiated in the private sector. But since you don’t like that arrangement, you’ll soon be stuck with the public costs of my employee health care…Just like you pay for Alice Walton’s new Rembrandt.

      Keep opposing unions…someday it just might pay off for me.

    16. BP Beckley Says:

      People need to be in a place in a community that they love.

      and for many people, especially the people in the “Creative Class”, the “community that they love” has nothing to do with where they live. The place they live better keep giving ‘em what they want, or they’ll be gone.

    17. Jim Klee Says:

      I have to agree with many of the comments, the Creative Class seems to be one of privilege. Yes, automation, better agricultural technology, etc…, have freed many workers from tedious, manual labor. But these jobs haven’t disappeared all THAT much, they’ve just moved to places like China.

      So my question for Richard is, would a more equal world also evolve a Creative Class?