I had planned to release this post in a week or two, but I am jumping it up in the queue after hearing Brent Spore’s “Social Media Universe” session at PodCamp. This is largely to refute those people who think we should not be inviting more people into our communities. I hope the perspective helps change your mind….
When I hear people talk about the Creative Class here in Arizona, I always assume they don’t get it. When I hear them talk I hear them talking really about the smallest segment of the Creative Class, the Bohemians.
The Creative Class by definition is made up of..
Super-Creative Core: This comprises about twelve percent of all U.S. jobs. This group is deemed to contain a wide range of occupations (e.g. science, engineering, education, computer programming, research) with arts, design, and media workers making a small subset. Those belonging to this group are considered to “fully engage in the creative process” (Florida, 2002, p. 69). The Super-Creative Core is considered innovative, creating commercial products and consumer goods. Their primary job function is to be creative and innovative. “Along with problem solving, their work may entail problem finding” (Florida, 2002, p. 69).
Creative Professionals: These professionals are the classic knowledge-based workers and include those working in healthcare, business and finance, the legal sector, and education. They “draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems” using higher degrees of education to do so (2002).
Additional to these two main groups of creative people, the usually much smaller group of Bohemians are also included in the creative class.
There is a reason that this is problematic, beyond the fact that all three of segments of the Creative Class being necessary to feed off one another is that we are ignoring a HUGE portion of the Creative talent in the area. Let me put this into a very simple equation for you. In the 2000 census, it was shown that we have about 28% of 1.4million working people in the creative class or 405,000 people. Only 18,000 of them are the bohemian subset. Nothing like leaving over 350,000 people out of an equation. If you look at 2008 estimates Maricopa county has grown by about 20%. That means that there are nearly 500,000 creative class individuals living here.
Think about that for a minute. The most connected of people in our current circles might be connected to 5,000 people. The biggest events generally are attended by less than 1,000 people. We are not reaching, including or participating with nearly 495,000 people. Think of the impact we would have if we could engage even 10% of this group. Can you imagine 50,000 people participating and working towards solutions. Look at the gap we are leaving behind.