March 6th, 2009

Oregon Creative Industries: Your input needed


Creatives understandIt’s no secret that I have a broad definition of the term “creatives.”

Today, the traditional lines dividing “creatives” and “developers” is becoming exceedingly blurry. And I, for one, welcome that blurriness.

I mean, all of those folks are creative (and always have been). Because some of these folks whom you would traditionally throw in the realm of non-creatives—aside from being brilliant and creative developers—are also amazing photographers, knitters, designers, and writers.

Likewise, there are any number of drool-worthy graphic designers who have stepped into the realm of development. To finely craft their own CSS. Or churn out application code that would make traditional “developers” swoon.

Long story short, “creatives,” in my opinion, is a nonsensical moniker. The concept of creative is completely outdated. An unnecessary silo.

We’re all creative, people. All of us. (Well, except for me. I largely just regurgitate stuff I hear.)

Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t even see that soapbox. I just happened to step up there.

Long relegated to the world of graphic design, I believe that the term “creatives” covers a much broader spectrum of creative professionals, like Web app and mobile app developers, for example. Like bloggers. Like Web designers. Like wiki developers. Like so many other technology pursuits that require a great deal of creativity.

So, when I see documents designed to speak for the “creatives” in the Oregon, I think it’s really important that you’re involved. Because you’re doing amazing work. And you’re—in many ways—leading Portland and the Silicon Forest.

One of these efforts in which I would hope you get involved is the Oregon Creative Industries Cluster Description and Initiatives. Why? Because it’s calling for the formation of a trade association to represent the creative industries in Oregon.

Oregon Creative Industries (OCI) is a trade association being created to provide a voice for Oregon’s Creative Economy participants, working to champion sustainable economic growth for the sector.

Why do I think you should review this effort?

Well, for one thing it’s going to affect you. For another, it’s an effort in which a number of people we know and love have been involved, including Legion of Tech, DevGroup NW, and Social Media Club of Portland. And finally, because I know there are a big chunk of readers out there—incredibly talented creative developers—who live in the part of the Silicon Forest that isn’t Portland proper. So when people around Portland start talking about things for “Oregon,” I start getting a bit edgy. Then I start thinking that more of Oregon needs to be involved. To, you know, speak for Oregon.

So what are you commenting on?

I’m glad you asked.

After several months and hundreds of volunteer hours reaching out and listening to the community, OCI recently published a draft document for public comment that defines the Creative Industries economic cluster in Oregon and proposes several objectives and initiatives for sustaining and growing Oregon’s creative economy.

The document outlines a number of benefits of the creative industry, including:

Creative Industries provide Innovation strength. In an ever-increasing global economy, one comparative advantage we have is our ability to innovate. Successful innovation comes about by commercial use of new ideas as a result of market and technology know-how, coupled with design and creative talent. This ultimately delivers new or enhanced products, processes or services that increase individual business profits, which contribute to the overall health of our region’s economy. Knowledge generation and sharing is the key to fueling Cluster growth and competitiveness and this can be achieved by the uptake of innovation through the Creative Industries Cluster.

Now, it’s in your hands. The document is a rough draft. And it could use your input. It could use input from all of us. Because while it’s a good start, it could use fine tuning. Hence the call for public comment.

If you choose to comment on this document, I’d encourage you to focus on the following areas:

  • Cluster Description
  • Cluster Strengths
  • Recent Accomplishments for the Cluster Organization

Please download the document, review it, edit it, and submit your feedback to info@oregoncreative.org. Even if you don’t agree with the basis of the document—arguing for the formation of a trade organization—I’d still encourage you to read it and comment.

In fact, I’d especially encourage you to participate in the public comment if you disagree.

Whatever your opinion, comment. And please feel free to cc: siliconflorist@gmail.com. I’d love to see your thoughts.

Once I’ve formulated my response, I’ll be publishing my comments here. And with your permission, I’d be happy to include yours so that we can publish a joint response to the public comment.

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2 Responses to “Oregon Creative Industries: Your input needed”

  1. Steve Gehlen says:

    Rick, thank you for the post.

    As the co-founder of Oregon Creative Industries (OCI) and co-author of the draft document that you wrote about; AND as someone who started out his professional life as a software developer writing thousands of lines of C and assembly language code for a Bay Area company in the ’80s, I completely agree with the idea that writing code is a creative act. Those who have followed the OCI blog and/or read my comments on Silicon Florist and a few other blogs will know that I have been a champion for the concept that writing good software code is an art.

    It’s one of the reasons that OCI has latched onto the Wikipedia definition (which is built in large part on the U.K. government’s DCMS demarcation of creative industries): because software is part of the picture. While software developers already understand that, part of what I am trying to do is help educate people in purely design-related fields–and also policy-makers–about this concept.

    As you pointed out, one of our region’s strengths is that many of our software developers have creative pursuits and many of our design professionals are very tech savvy. OCI plans to highlight that idea as part of our promotional efforts.

    Thanks again.

  2. Tad Lukasik says:

    Yes, Thank You Rick for the connect. On the topic of forming a trade association, I would like to add that this group’s goal is to help network and organize our Creative Economy participants as an alliance or coalition while maintaining the strength of the sub verticals provided by all our existing associations. This collaborative partnership organization is what the Oregon Business Plan (OBP) has asked of all the clusters that are represented in the plan. Action items and recommendations from the OBP include “defining all of state’s industry clusters and identify an industry-led organization for each cluster…” and “clusters exist only where a critical mass of firms in traded sector industry (yes, the Creative Economy is) recognize their common self-interest.” All directions are pointing OCI towards this partnership to satisfy the needs of our (Portland and Oregon’s) cluster-centric model of economic development. The OBP is the playbook for Oregon’s economic future and one of our goals is to be sure our Creative Economy is represented at this table.
    Thanks much again.
    Tad Lukasik – OCI Co-Founder


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