Friday, December 31, 2010

Creative People in Business

The magazine Fast Company has published its list of the 10 Most Creative People in is mostly American business but that is typical US narcissism.  What is interesting to me is #6 on the list: Steve Burd, the CEO of Safeway.  You don't usually look to a grocery store for creativity but there he is.  The reasons he is on the list are encouraging.

The reason that  recognition of Steve Burd interests me is that creative culture and corporate leadership is alive and well in the Alberta division of Safeway too.  Bill Campbell is the Safeway head of human resources and is one of those corporate thought leaders and creativity doers in Alberta.  His work with the community based Save Our Fine Arts (SOFA and #sofab on Twitter) is a great example of corporate talent seeing culture as a critical aspect of our quality of life.  As an HR guy Bill know the arts and a wider deeper sense of literacy are part of the skill sets we must develop and enhance if we are to compete in the conceptual age we are entering economically.

There is more good stuff SOFA and Campbell are doing including hosting a public meeting on the role of creativity and fine arts education with Education Minister Dave Hancock in Calgary January 25.  Make it one of your New Years resolutions to join with SOFA and attend this meeting to learn more about the importance of art in education.

If the the Alberta economy is to survive and thrive, we have to adapt to create creative based assets that serve a full range of human needs and wants.  That imagination and innovation will be more about our brain as a natural resource and less about our brawn in extracting energy from hydrocarbons.    Creative based assets are all around us and are not just about frolicking and juggling performances, as much fun as that is.  It is about new technologies and techniques that do conventional economic activity better, faster, cheaper, and cleaner.  That is our future and creativity is the key.  There is a new book coming out that deals with this transition by Robert McGarvey called "Undressing Capitalism."  I have read the manuscript and will be talking more about Bob's intriguing ideas in future posts too.

I will be blogging a lot about creativity and innovation in 2011 and the work of Creative Alberta as a lead group in helping to promote awareness, trigger some imagination and make it all more meaningful for folks through international relationship of creative districts.  You will be hearing a lot more about my work with the ATA and the Learning Our Way to the Next Alberta project too, including a major event about a new partnership of high performing public education systems in the world.  That includes the top 2 in the world, Finland and Alberta who are forming this partnership.  More on all that next week.

In the meantime I wish all of you a Happy New Year and an interesting and creative 2011.