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A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center, part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Anya Petersen-Frey, WSBDC regional director
"I have been hearing this term "creative economy." What does that mean for me and my business -- if anything? Sam, Torrington
I am not a big fan of labels, but the economy in recent decades has often been called the "knowledge economy." This economy created many of the technological advances that we incorporate into daily life and work today. But this is being eclipsed by a new direction, sometimes called the "creativity economy."
The reality is that many of the traditional business processes such as price, quality and much of the left-brain, computerized analytical work tied with "knowledge," is being shipped off to lower-paid, highly trained workforces in foreign countries. So, how does the U.S. compete?
Increasingly, the new core competence, as defined by innovators of this concept, such as Daniel Pink, is creativity -- the right-brain stuff that smart companies are now harnessing to generate growth. The game is changing as it always does. Math and science are good, but not enough anymore. It's about creativity, imagination and innovation.
What does this mean for you? As a small business owner it is important to continually innovate and re-invent your products and services to improve the customer experience. Many U.S. companies are shifting to creating consumer experiences, not just products; they are redefining entire brand categories, not merely adding a few more colors. Above all, innovating in new and surprising ways.
As a manager or employer it is also time to begin thinking in new ways. How do you create a business that is innovative and creative? It often starts with the owner -- from the inside out. For example, do you give your employees autonomy in certain areas of their jobs? Do you encourage employees to take an active role in coming up with new ideas for the business?
This may sound like the latest fad but this evolution of the economy toward creativity has been underway for some time. One example is Steve Jobs who has turned Apple into the model of the creative corporation. Companies throughout the world are now deconstructing Apple's success in design and innovation -- learning the lessons.
A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.
The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail email@example.com or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY 82071-3922.