San Francisco: Not Just a Tech Company But a Burgeoning Creative Economy

We have all heard of the knowledge economy, the digital age, and the fourth Industrial Revolution. These terms describe and define the era we live in, the platforms that influence the way we live and work, and the kind of competitive edge we must sharpen if our organizations (and our careers) are to survive. 

Expect another term to join their ranks and make its presence stronger in our relationships, our professions, and communications: the creative economy. And if its ICT (information and communications technology) counterparts bred and raised their own elite workers who helped shape our high-tech world, it stands to reason that the creative economy will be powered by its own workforce, which is now being labeled as “the creative class.”

If the analysts are correct, human resource professionals and global mobility managers should keep a lookout for these creative talents, perhaps with the same devotion and alacrity with which they recruit the highly prized geniuses of STEM (or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

But first let’s understand what the term “creative economy” truly means. EU Startups say that it is the next step up the ladder of innovation, using knowledge, data, and information as its tools instead of putting them at its center. 

As we are starting to see, industries are being and will be disrupted as game-changing individuals apply out-of-the-box solutions to longstanding business problems — and in so doing, unleash new technologies, platforms, and mediums of communication. 

What also makes the creative economy and those who thrive in them different from the tech breakthroughs we have seen so far is that they include — in their exploration — all those wonderful, if intangible things that make up our humanity, such as art and culture. 

Author Richard Florida was the first to coin the term in 2003, predicting that these new artistic-cum-tech revolutionaries would change the different sectors in the business landscape. 

Business Insider enumerates the various professions that he included in this emerging class:  “ … people in science and engineering, architecture and design, education, arts, music and entertainment, whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology, and new creative content.”

Some examples of the new creative class may come from technology. The next Mark Zuckerberg who creates the hottest new social media platform that can surpass Facebook; a young engineer who finally succeeds in landing people on Mars and launching weekly tourist shuttles to it; a literary genius whose vision inspires people all over the world to share their wealth with each other.

EU Startups points out in particular specific industries that would compose the core of the creative economy:  “advertising, architecture, arts and crafts, design, fashion, film, video, photography, music, performing arts, publishing, research & development, software, computer games, electronic publishing, and TV/radio.”

In his article in CityLab, Florida estimates the creative class in the United States alone at about 55 million people, or 35 percent of the workforce. As of 2019, the top 10 cities in America where they congregate and grow are as follows:  Washington, D.C.; Seattle; San Francisco; Atlanta; Minneapolis; Austin; Boston; Portland; Denver; and San Diego.

Global mobility managers, if you are looking for talent that can lead industries and possibly pave the way for new ones, these are the locations to get started.