The Creative Economy: Recognizing Human Potential

ICT4D 2.0 is all about reframing the poor. Whereas ICT4D 1.0 marginalized those at the bottom of the pyramid, ICT4D 2.0 centralizes them and uses a demand-driven framework to develop active producers and innovators. In looking at the lessons learned from phase 1.0, three things come to focus: the importance of sustainability, scalability, and evaluation. In order to achieve sustainability, projects must focus on participation and empowerment. Though participatory communities vary in nature, they all share several distinguishing characteristics. To begin with, many people  are actively involved throughout the community; there is no elite running the poor, rather everyone is a positive contributor to society. Participatory communities encourage involvement from all groups, regardless of race, gender, age, etc. Power and responsibility are decentralized and dispersed based on talent, skills, or specialization in order to engage citizens. Through building and welcoming active citizen participation, communities can create valuable roles for each member which is key to empowerment.

One thing that I found interesting in these participatory communities is the role of the “creative economy” and how such an economy can help to bridge the gap between developed and developing regions. Capitalizing on creative activities, this economy favors knowledge, communication, and innovation when putting value on a good or service. The interplay of creativity, culture, economics, amd technology has great potential to generate jobs and income all whilst promoting social inclusion, cultural diversity, and human development. With the ever increasing connectedness brought by globalization, creative goods/services, can now reach more places than ever.

The article takes a look at the Creative Economy Report 2008 (the first comprehensive study to present a United Nations perspective on this topic) to show how developing countries can reap the same benefits as the developed countries who dominate this global creative market.

Some key points to take away from the report:

  • the creative economy, though dominated by developed countries, is a feasible, SUSTAINABLE, option that is available to developing countries
  • the term “creative economy” is an evolving concept based on the potential of ‘creative assets’ to generate socio-economic growth and development
  • if effective public policies are put in place, the creative economy could enable developing countries to leapfrog into high-growth areas of the world economy
  • the majority of developing countries is not yet maximizing their creative economy potential
  • significant imbalances in power over the control of systems of creative product distribution and copyright payments are holding back further development

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