Europe in the Creative Age

despite the widely ramified discussion if design management is about ‘product’ versus ‘process’ or ‘concrete’ versus ‘abstract’ it might be more interesting to think about ‘design management’ and ‘design managers’ as part of the “creative industries” or to speak with Richard Florida, as an element of the “Creative Class”:

“(The creative class) At its core are scientists, engineers, architects, designers, educators, artists, musicians and entertainers whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology, or new content. Also included are the creative professions of business and finance, law, healthcare and related fields, in which knowledge workers engage in complex problem solving that involves a great deal of independent judgment.”

while nations like the US or the UK have a long history of leveraging from these educational investments in soft skills, the current discussion about PISA here in germany is also a result of the deficits in paying enough attention to this “Class” or “Cluster”.

literally “design management” is a cross-discipline profession and current post-graduate educational programmes in the Netherlands, UK and Switzerland are addressing “creativity” with different emphases.

what I tend to emphasise (with a focus on technology & design) in my lectures for design management programmes is matching the “3Ts of economic development—Technology, Talent and Tolerance” as defined by Richard Florida. Florida is currently the Hirst Professor in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University and you can find lots of information about his work on while

On his website you also find a free report about the current state of “Europe’s Creative Class” (don’t expect to find Germany among the Top 5 ;-) the report can also be downloaded from the co-publisher in the UK, Demos, a non-for-profit organisation.

“Creativity has become a driving force of economic growth. The ability to compete and prosper in the global economy goes beyond trade in goods and services and flows of capital and investment. Instead, it increasingly turns on the ability of nations to attract, retain and develop creative people. This report extends the concepts and indicators introduced in ‘The Rise of the Creative Class’ to the European context. It develops new indicators for the Creative Class and competitiveness that are based on the 3Ts of economic development—Technology, Talent and Tolerance — for 14 European, Scandinavian and Nordic countries and compares them to the United States. While these measures differ in significant respects from the indicators in The Rise of the Creative Class, the findings are just as illuminating and compelling.”

other links can be found at:

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