Growing a creative economy—one experiment

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Social Science Research Network


Business and Leadership


The “creative economy” creates buzz. But can it be created? Grit City (a.k.a. Tacoma, Wash.) tried to find out. The local Chamber of Commerce was the first group to work with Richard Florida, author of Rise of the Creative Class, and his Creative Class Group in an effort to grow a creative economy. The Chamber recruited 30 community members from business, government, the arts, education, and the non-profit sector to work for one year to address this issue. Florida’s Creative Class Group provided participants the background in the creative economy necessary to build on the existing economy’s strengths and form new competencies. They also provided some support as the community members developed and implemented plans to improve the creative economy. While tangible outcomes were few, the year-long experiment raised awareness about the creative class and its importance to the economy. The year also fostered connections between education, business, the arts, and the community that continue to develop as Grit City moves towards a stronger creative economy.