1.22.2008

PROMOTING CREATIVITY

Innovation Philadelphia issued a press release in conjunction with the completion of my firm's report on the economic impact of the for-profit, technology-driven part of the Creative Economy: "New Research Shows Philadelphia’s Creative Economy Big, Growing and Leading the Nation in Key Indicators." There have been reports about biotech, about eds and meds, and about cultural institutions; this report represents the fourth leg of the table.

And a big leg it is: almost $60 billion in total economic impact each year, or almost a quarter of the region's economy. Even that might be understating it: more so than biotech, eds and meds, and cultural institutions, the for-profit, technology-driven part of the Creative Economy touches practically every part of our modern economy, as functions like IT and design and communications are embedded into even the most mundane of business activities.

What's really music to policymakers' ears is that this is high-margin, high-wage activity, according to our findings. And that's not surprising, for what makes something hard to commoditize is that creativity and innovation have been injected into it. That makes for jobs that pay well, that are hard to lose to another part of the world, and that have a big multiplier effect on the region in which they're located.

Of course, this wouldn't be a Philadelphia story if it didn't have this conclusion: we're actually not doing too bad as a region, we just suffer from poor self-esteem. Most people don't consider Philadelphia the hotbed of creativity and innovation that it actually is. For shame, as many people I've talked to have told me they've moved themselves and others to the region unwillingly, only to be pleasantly surprised to find such a rich quality of life here.

Much more to say here, but soon the report will be available at Innovation Philadelphia's website, and you can read about it all there. Let's hope more of this creativity circulates around these here parts, and that what's already buzzing can get more of the buzz it's due.
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