Building Australia's future with a 'creative' economy
Growth in the creative economy is one way Australia can offset the impact of a slowdown in mineral and commodity exports, according to Stuart Cunningham, an eminent researcher and author of the new book "Hidden Innovation: Policy, Industry and the Creative Sector".
"Minerals and commodities have provided an excellent buffer to the economy during the global financial downturn — but relying on them alone is inherently unsustainable," he said.
Professor Cunningham, who is Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) at Queensland University of Technology, explains the aim of his new book is to bring to light the largely "hidden" innovation going on within the economy — led by the creative sector.
This timely book is an important addition to The University of Queensland Press' internationally-acclaimed Creative Economy + Innovation Culture series.
In Hidden Innovation Cunningham shows how creative workers contribute fresh ideas across the economy, help communities and businesses adapt to change in both work and leisure, and generate fresh growth, exports and jobs.
He also explores how policies internationally are rapidly catching up with changing social and economic realities as the world's most progressive economies develop the new opportunities offered by design and digital content.
"The last decade or so has seen a proliferation of policies to support the creative economy — in the US, UK, Europe, Asia and the global south," he said.
The creative sector encompasses advertising and marketing, architecture, design and visual arts, film, TV newspapers and radio, music and performing arts, publishing, software and digital content.
Salaries and wages paid to those working in creative employment rose from $26 billion a year in 2006-7 to over $36 billion a year in 2011.
"Creative professionals now outnumber mining sector employees three-to-one, and those of agriculture fishing and forestry two-to-one," Prof Cunningham said.
"This gives some feel for how this sector is emerging relative to two traditional 'backbone' industries."
"For years we have effectively funded science and engineering R&D, as a key ingredient in economic growth. Hidden Innovation argues that the creative industries can be key contributors to the innovation economies of developed countries.
"They contribute ideas, processes, products and, not least, talent, which can be repurposed within and outside the creative industries in ways that grow economies and drive productivity.
"Government innovation policies should recognise this and be constructed in ways that include the creative industries."
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