Monday, November 15, 2010
The Great Reset - Richard Florida's Presentation in Austin
Leadership Austin and Capital One Bank brought Richard Florida to Austin for an engaging presentation at the LBJ School of Public Affairs on November 12th.
About 500 people attended the talk (leaving about 300 empty seats... which was a real waste, since this was a great event) where Florida shared his theories about the current recession and where we, as a society, go from here.
We are living in turbulent, trying and disruptive times, but we cannot fully realize or grasp the economic shift that is taking place because we are living through it. Florida pointed out that major changes in American life have happened before. While much attention in the press is given to the Great Depression, there was a more substantial long depression and cultural shift that took place in the late 1800s. We went from an agricultural society into the industrial revolution, and with that came massive change. Again, we are about to face a shift, what Florida calls a "Reset"..... and how we respond will be more important than ever.
Florida's first book, "The Rise of the Creative Class" chronicles the new leaders of our age which include those who work in science, engineering, education, computer programming, research, arts, design, media, healthcare, business and finance, the legal sector, and education. They make up 30% of the U.S. workforce, but are fairing much better in the recession, with only 5% unemployment compared to over 10% in other occupations.
Florida believes that everyone is creative, and that creativity is the core unit of our humanity. All industry should embrace the concept of the creative class. The gap between the haves and have-nots is getting bigger, and people see the successes in some sectors and they want what the "creative class" has achieved.
Some claim that those who make up the "creative economy" are elitist, but he disagrees. Florida does, however, challenges those in these expanding creative professions to stop saying others "don't get it", or pointing fingers.... and start leading. To successfully navigate the huge change that is coming, we need leaders!
"Place" is the cornerstone to much of Florida's theories. He believes that certain cities and regions will do better than others because they will adjust to the new norms rather than clinging to the ways of the past. Austin is one of those cities that is flourishing (compared to other places) because of the city's high levels of technology, talent and tolerance. As a region, the four major Texas cites can work together to prosper in the coming reset. The key to economic development is no longer just attracting large employers, but instead it is about "place-making". Cities and regions need to position themselves as attractive places for people to live and work, or they will go to other desirable places.
Americans navigated other tough times, and we were more prosperous following the 1800s and the 1930s. We moved from the farms to the cities. Then we moved from the cities to the suburbs. How we lived our lives morphed and eventually became common. We are due for similar changes again, and we have to be willing to go with the flow or be left behind. There will be people who will prosper in these tough times and new industries and institutions will be formed, while old ones will die off (this happened in the late 1800s and again in the 1930s).
Are you ready for the Great Reset? I suggest reading his new book "The Great Reset"
Have A Great Day.
P.S. - Richard Florida is a great public speaker. I study those who present to audiences of all sizes, and many, ..... especially academics (Florida is a Ph.D), have great ideas and concepts, but lack the ability to communicate. My theory is that just because someone is smart or has done something great - it does NOT mean they belong on a stage. They must have speaking skills or they should stay home and write white papers. Richard Florida has both... wicked smart, and a first class speaker.