Richard Florida, "The Flight of the Creative Class: The New Global Competition for Talent", Rotman Lifelong Learning 2005, June 3, 2005

Lifelong Learning 2005, Rotman School of Management, (University of Toronto), held at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, June 3, 2005, 1:15 p.m.

Richard Florida, Hirst Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University

These participant's notes were created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker's presentation(s) and comments from the audience. These should not be viewed as official transcripts of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. These notes have been contributed by David Ing ( of the Systemic Business Community ( ).

Introduction by Roger Martin

[Richard Florida]

This book has stimulated experiences in the U.S.

Will reprise the thesis of the Creative Class

What have I learned since Creative Class?

Two stories.

1. Invited to speak at the KnowledgeWave conference in New Zealand

2005 Hollywood's top 100 moguls, but Peter Jackson is #1, and didn't do it in Hollywood.

Competition for talent is global.

Not a student of arts and culture.

I was trying to figure out why places like Toronto and Vancouver grow, and Cleveland and Pittsburgh don't

Third metric: tolerance

Like creative than knowledge better, because it captures a human inherent talent better

If look back 100 years ago, most people worked on farms, some in factories, less than 10% in creative

Now, about 150M people worldwide (depending on how you define technicians), 30-40% of the people work in creative jobs

Postrel, The Substance of Style

Looked at occupations that have grown the most: interior designers, obstetrician

People read the book, about a class, and think it's about an elite

Flight of the Creative Class points out: there's lots of reasons that the U.S. is a superpower -- which is mythical

We have talent deficits: we can't hire people to run our technology companies

Globalization and competition for talent

Thomas Friedman has written "The World is Flat"

Brookings Institute: contrasted New York City and Pittsburgh

Looked in detail at SAS: how to manage creative people

Looked at this with Jim Goodale:

HBR editor said: the creative capital that is in employee's head -- scratched this out

Asked Jim, after study: did you study Toyota production system? High performance management?


Technology, talent and tolerance. In Toronto, there are so many qualified people doing so many unqualified jobs. The U.S. has done a better job. The American dream has been at the core of success? Is it still there?

Have you studied how companies like SAS attract to cities. I'm drawn to New York, but not to my job.

SAS environment? Could you do this at GM?

Why are large corporations not able to achieve this? Focus on smaller groups, smaller organizations?

Creative class, that could earn living in a different way. C. P. Snow, technical versus literary class. Landowners. Backlash against reforms. Creative companies, getting into a body shop.


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