By Katie Terpstra

“Keep your tax incentives and highway interchanges; we will go where the highly skilled people are.”

Carley Fiorina, Hewlett-Packard CEO

Richard Florida, in his book The Rise of the Creative Class, describes the emergence of a new social class, the creative class.  He believes creativity is the driving force behind economic growth and that “cities should stop worrying about attracting companies and start worrying about attracting members of this class.”  Once the creative people have been successfully attracted, the companies seeking this type of workforce will naturally follow.

Mr. Florida defines the core of the creative class as “people in science and engineering, architecture and design, education, arts, music, and entertainment, whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology and/or new creative content.”  He estimates that the class includes 38 million members or more than 30 percent of the nation’s workforce.

In order to attract the creative class to an area, Florida believes a place must have “the 3 T’s”—technology, talent and tolerance.  While he believes geographical place does still play an important role in attraction, he also writes, “Access to talented and creative people is to modern business what access to coal and iron ore was to steelmaking.” 

Whether you agree with Florida or not, he raises some interesting issues through his research.  Have you witnessed the presence of this creative class in your area?  Do organizations need to be more innovative in their attempts to attract companies?  Is it feasible to attract people rather than companies?  Click here to send us your feedback.

Sources & Links:

º An article based on Florida’s book which asks the question: “Why do some cities thrive and others flounder?”

º Florida’s website which contains more information about his book, The Rise of the Creative Class, including excerpts.

º An interesting quiz designed to test how creative your workplace is.