Great discussion at Tuesday’s @InfluencerCon #Amplify event, Creative Destruction. Hats off not only to Phil McKenzie for organizing it, but also to Amy Andrieux of Ketchum Digital, muralist Katie Yamasaki as well as the attendees who offered some great perspective also. Very cool that there was a nice give and take between the panel and the attendees. That said, I thought I’d recap at a high level some of the key ideas from the conversation. Really, the discussion centered around how to make the “creative economy” work for actual creatives. Net-net: It’s complicated. That said, here are some broad ideas that emerged:
- The need to think expansively about how you do the things you say you care about. Katie spoke to this, and it was the idea that you can’t get fixated on one way of doing the thing you want to do. If you’re passionate about doing something, you’ll find a way do do it in whatever way you can. Saying, for example, that you want to be an illustrator, but you only want to do the cartoons for the New Yorker is really limiting yourself and your prospects.
- Constantly evolve marketable skills. As we talked about this topic, in addition to Richard Florida, Thomas Friedman and his book The World Is Flat also came up. Key ideas around this: Any job that can be outsourced will be. Also, it’s not enough to just be good at something. Rather, you have to understand what configuration of your skills the broader marketplace values
- Collaboration & building community are key to changing things. Find ways to not just agitate, but make meaningful change collectively. There are like-minded people all around; we just have to be brave enough to reach out and make the connection. Remember, we’re stronger when we work together.
- Design your life so that you can pursue your dreams. If you think of yourself as creative–meaning, you’re not destined for a desk job somewhere–then thinking your financial life through is really key. This means, you’ve got to plan on NOT getting paid every two weeks. It also means that it’s imperative to figure out early what your bare essentials are and let everything else go. Stay away from credit card debt. Don’t spend ahead of revenue.
- Diversifying corporations isn’t enough if you don’t advocate for change once you get there. But this requires that you not only be good at your job, but that you can work w/i the company system to build allies and get things done. This effectively means you’re going to have to do two jobs. Build allies within and identify great resources on the outside that you can have at the ready. Most of all, educate you company and make the case in terms it understands. And, yes, at first this may be daunting, but stick with it.
- Rethink and question the current state of capitalism. Seriously. The winner take all mentality doesn’t work in a world of scarce resources. Be encouraged that there’s a already a movement afoot to recalibrate. Thinkers such as Umair Haque have laid out a new manifesto for capitalism. John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio have already documented the global shift in sentiment that is reframing how we think about work and business. Collectivist movements such as the Occupy Movement and the Arab Spring are clear indicators that the status quo is not fulfilling people’s needs.
photo: Phil McKenzie. (l to r: Katie Yamasaki, Amy Andrieux, me)
photo: Phil McKenzie