Memphis Manifeto : How to make your company more creative

Just started reading The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida. It’s a stunning book.

The pitch : creativity is the source of wealth in the western world of the 21st century. Citis are the organisational unit our societies are based on. Cities where there is the most tolerance also are the cities where there is the most talented people, the most high tech companies and where the most wealth is created. Richard Florida is a sociologist and this is based on hard facts.

How can you tell a city is tolerant ? By the presence in large numbers of gay people, bohemians (artists, musicians, writers …) and a mixed racial culture. The reason ? Highly talented people (the creative class i.e scientists, engineers, designers, etc …) need such tolerant place for their life balance. So this is where they go.

Badly ranked cities took the point serioulsly and gather to set up up a manifesto providing guidelines on how to foster Creativity in their city to make them wealthier. This is the Memphis Manifesto.

I’m just fascinated with how appropriate it is to make companies more creative (and how enterprise 2.0 – again, sorry –  can help in implementing these principles) :

1) Cultivate and reward creativity. Everyone is part of the value chain of creativity. Creativity can happen at anytime, anywhere, and it’s happening in your community right now. Pay attention.

2) Invest in the creative ecosystem. The creative ecosystem can include arts and culture, nightlife, the music scene, restaurants, artists and designers, innovators, entrepreneurs, affordable spaces, lively neighborhoods, spirituality, education, density, public spaces and third places.

3) Embrace diversity. It gives birth to creativity, innovation and positive economic impact. People of different backgrounds and experiences contribute a diversity of ideas, expressions, talents and perspectives that enrich communities. This is how ideas flourish and build vital communities.

4) Nurture the creatives. Support the connectors. Collaborate to compete in a new way and get everyone in the game.

5) Value risk-taking. Convert a “no” climate into a “yes” climate. Invest in opportunity-making, not just problem-solving. Tap into the creative talent, technology and energy for your community. Challenge conventional wisdom.

6) Be authentic. Identify the value you add and focus on those assets where you can be unique. Dare to be different, not simply the look-alike of another community. Resist monoculture and homogeneity. Every community can be the right community.

7) Invest in and build on quality of place. While inherited features such as climate, natural resources and population are important, other critical features such as arts and culture, open and green spaces, vibrant downtowns, and centers of learning can be built and strengthened. This will make communities more competitive than ever because it will create more opportunities than ever for ideas to have an impact.

8- Remove barriers to creativity, such as mediocrity, intolerance, disconnectedness, sprawl, poverty, bad schools, exclusivity, and social and environmental degradation.

9) Take responsibility for change in your community. Improvise. Make things happen. Development is a “do it yourself” enterprise.

10) Ensure that every person, especially children, has the right to creativity. The highest quality lifelong education is critical to developing and retaining creative individuals as a resource for communities.

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