To be honest with you this is exactly what I find frustrating about the ‘creative economy’. There is very little pinning down real economic opportunities. Here is a 100 page report on Canada’s Creative Corridor the prestigious Martin Prosperity Industry. I have read through it twice just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. It is an orgy of statistics and top notch prose but I can’t see a single opportunity for economic growth identified in the entire report with the exception of what they call the creative food economy (but that is not even well defined).
Right up front the mandate of the report is “To complete an assessment of strategic opportunities”.
The report states Eastern Ontario has “unprecedented opportunities to reach markets and attract investment”.
They recommend creating business directories, creative surveys, bring creative sector and creative economy issues and policy considerations into land use and other areas of municipal planning, undertake a cultural and creative mapping exercise, place branding, an internet strategy and an audience focus that includes the use of social networking, tools (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn) to enhance promotional efforts, identification of tactics for engaging creative businesses/industries, developing web tools to attract creative economy business investment such as the ‘Build a New Life’ site developed in Prince Edward County, developing a full HR and skills asset map of the local population.
And the report recommends that the Province should create a Creative Economy Policy Development, a Creative Economy Tool Development and Creative Economy Funding Programs.
There’s nothing in this report. It must have cost a fortune and there is nothing beyond neat charts and vague rhetoric.
If there is to be a creative economic strategy we must define serious targets, specific industries (not the two “for examples” listed in this report) and specific ways to recruit companies and grow industries. If the stakeholders that take this report adopt every single recommendation there is no way to know if that would ever lead to any economic growth. All the recommendations are about data collection and a little of generic promotion (to no specific industries).
When Richard Florida pins it down for us, then I will be thrilled. We he works with an economic development group to set a target for creative industry attraction, new start ups and tangible investment, then I will be happy. He and this institute are arguing that governments should put significant money into this idea and I can’t see any projected results.