“The most ambitious, thoughtful and internationally aware assessment to date of the creative economy. Defining creativity as the production of newness in complex, adaptive systems, the authors make the case that together the creative economy, along with other cultural outputs, represent a planet-wide innovation capability which marks an epochal turn in human affairs.”

— Ian Hargreaves, CBE, Professor of Digital Economy, Cardiff University

Creativity, new ideas and innovation – and with them the growth of knowledge – have spilled out of the lab, studio and factory into the street, scene, and social media. Now, everyday life is productive, everyone is creative, and new ideas can come from anywhere around the world.

Instead of confining cultural expression to talented artists and expert professionals, this book investigates creative new ideas from everyone. Instead of confining the ‘creative industries’ to one sector of the economy and one type of productivity, this book extends the idea of creative innovation to everything. Instead of confining the growth of knowledge to wealthy countries or markets, this book looks for it in developing and emergent countries, everywhere.

The productivity of creativity can now be seen as a global phenomenon. It demands a systems-based and dynamic mode of explanation. Creative Economy and Culture pursues the conceptual, historical, practical, critical and educational issues and implications. It looks at conceptual challenges, the forces and dynamics of change, and prospects for the future of creative work at planetary scale.

It is essential reading for upper level students and researchers of the creative and cultural industries across media and cultural studies, communication and sociology.



The generalization has often been surmised, and has been more and more firmly established by biographical research … that the roots of important original achievements can almost always be found in the third decade in the lives of scholars, that sacred decade of fertility.

(Joseph Schumpeter, in Allen, 1991: 51)

Summary of the Argument of the Book

The Story So Far

In this book we have tried to develop some simple models for the analysis of creativity in the context of contemporary global markets and digital mediated culture.

  • We see creativity as a systems phenomenon. The system that generates creativity is culture, not individual behaviour.
  • Culture and knowledge should be understood first as part of communication (i.e. as social, not behavioural).
  • Culture should be seen in a new way, not as ...
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