Richard Florida on What the Creatives Want, Revisited

In Chapter Four of his new book, The Rise of the Creative Class Revisited, Richard Florida examines what motivates creative workers. Florida finds that what matters most to Creatives is as follows:

  • Challenge and Responsibility—i.e. intrinsic rewards, exciting projects
  • Flexibility—i.e. flex-time, the freedom to be oneself; as he states, “Flexibility means more than the freedom to show up at the office at 10:00AM wearing a nose ring. Creative people want the freedom and flexibility to pursue side projects and outside interests” (p. 73)
  • Peer Recognition—i.e. a powerful source of motivation as many Creatives put in the hours without pay to achieve recognition from their peers
  • Location and Community—i.e. the desire to be engaged in the places they live and to be accepted for who they are
  • Money and More—i.e. compensation, bonus and benefits help but they are not all-important for the Creatives.

Overall, Creatives want to live and work in a place where their creativity is fostered. This is one of the key messages of Florida’s new and revised edition.

On June 25th, I attended Richard Florida’s talk at the MaRS building in Toronto, organized by the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto, where he reiterated the importance of fostering creativity and took us back in time to explain how his ideas for Creativity began. There he contended that our ability to express creatively is influenced by the role of our community. The reminiscence of Jane Jacobs is in many of Florida’s works. During the talk, he echoes Jacob’s stance in that the city is the vehicle for innovation. Thus, as Florida would agree, the city needs to cater his Creatives to ignite growth. One way to think about the city, Florida exhorted, is to think about the metabolism of animals, as their body mass grows—from a mouse, to a dog, to an elephant, their metabolism slows down; however, in a city, the metabolism speeds up as density grows. As a result, cities mobilize talent as the basic platform of the Creatives. Then I say:  give the Creatives what they want!


2 thoughts on “Richard Florida on What the Creatives Want, Revisited

  1. He says creatives want to live and work in a place where their creativity is fostered, but really, isn’t that what we all want? Creativity is just part of being human. Too many people associate “creativity” with the arts of crafts, or perhaps in a musical sense, but it goes so far beyond that. To one’s true passions, and making that your art. Man, I’m so glad you posted about this book…now I really want to read it!

  2. Challenge, responsibility and flexibility: I think these are the most important factors for anyone. These, I think, would be like the so called “hygienic factors” in psychology. Without them, we feel dissatisfied and unproductive. At the minimum, we need these elements to become creative: then the rest will just add and foster it even more!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s