The old notion of creativity in an economy focused on the role of arts and culture.
Today we are witnessing the emergence of a much larger creative industries sector that encompasses digital design and innovation, communications, marketing and media. All over the world, industries and creative professions are growing faster than other sectors, fueled by rapid developments in information and communications technologies (ICTs) and digital innovation.
Advances in ICT have radically transformed the nature of creative production and consumption, generating new genres such as game development. Industry estimates put the global game industry’s annual revenue at $ 135 billion, eclipsing the film and music industries combined.
However, the digital revolution is not the whole story. Although the boundaries of the sector are difficult to define, evidence indicates that employment in creative work in Australia is growing almost twice as fast as overall employment.
Jobs in many sectors of traditional arts and culture are also on the rise, including creative artists, writers and performers. On the other hand, jobs in print publishing are quickly being replaced by digital forms of publishing.
Creative content has become the main currency, and technology is blurring the lines between consumers and producers, as digital platforms allow consumer reviews to be repackaged as content.
This thirst for creativity has seen the emergence of clusters or innovation poles, where companies and workers develop strategic networks that stimulate innovation. Performing artists need audiences, but workers in many emerging creative industries should be less dependent on co-location.
However, a new report from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Center reveals that creative workers and businesses are still clustered in and around our major cities.
Australia’s creative workforce is highly concentrated in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Other parts of the country are catching up, with a number of state governments investing in new initiatives to diversify and develop their creative industries.
Australia must remain competitive in a rapidly changing global environment in which creativity and innovation are becoming increasingly essential to create value.
The bottom line is that successful economies must be creative, and building – and sustaining – a creative workforce is central to our economic future.
- Professor Michael Dockery is a Principal Investigator at the Bankwest Curtin Economics Center, located at Curtin University.