Cultural Policy and Cultures of Creativity: Can public policies constrain or encourage innovation and entrepreneurship?

I’m mining my past work for my thesis and rediscovering pieces and phrases that should have been shared long ago. For example, this was written in December 2012, for Goucher College.

Cultural Policy and Cultures of Creativity:
Can public policies constrain or encourage innovation and entrepreneurship?

 

Culture as a policy decision

Common social beliefs (or cultures) are “not products of nature but of politics.”[1] Therefore, concepts of social norms, identity, morals and ideas of what is respected and encouraged are “policy decisions.”[2] In order to influence or describe a culture, one must shape its policies. In a world that is possibly policy mad, overflowing with regulation of inspectors and inspections of regulators, the restrictions of public policies are strong reference points for describing a culture. Conversely, policies direct and shape cultures as both postscript descriptors and prescriptive orders. And to confuse or explain this complexity further, consider that this reflexive chicken and egg relationship is not static or concrete, as social deviance, evolution and creativity demonstrate.

Policy, according to Cherbo and Wyszomirski, is “a politically validated empirical theory that acquires a normative factor over time and embodiment in structures and procedures, coming to define how things should be.”[3] The requirement of time for the normalization of attitudes and actions suggests a certain rigid and conservative nature of policy; however the same authors state that Western arts cultures have shifted in the last 50 years towards systems approaches; from artistic excellence to creativity, from attention to the individual artist to consideration of entire disciplines or communities[4]. It is these ‘systems approaches’ that indicate/dictate that communities, or cultures, of creativity are growing. Therefore as policy shifts, so does culture and vice versa. And these such shifts are quickening.

Communities of creation

Cultures are defined and expressed by traditions and common characteristics. In Entrepreneurship: Theory, Process, Practice, Donald Kuratko asserts that the entrepreneurialism of the United States’ is due to a culture that:

  • supports risk taking and seeking opportunities
  • is relatively alert to unexploited economic opportunity
  • fosters a relatively low fear of failure
  • is home to a high percentage of individuals with professional, technological or business degrees: a group that registers at the highest entrepreneurial activity rate[5].

The common characteristics of confident, opportunistic and motivated individuals are inherent to the American traditions of innovative actions and pioneering spirits. However according to Hafstein, “The very concept of tradition is premised on the negation of these criteria: what is traditional is by definition not novel and certainly not original. Moreover, tradition denotes and depends on collectivity and continuity.”[6] With this understanding, how may traditions, or policies, evolve or include innovators?

In “The Politics of Origins: Collective Creation Revisited”, Hafstein discusses the 2000 California Management Review article, “Communities of Creation,” and then-recent trends in innovation theory and management studies, to consider creativity as a social process[7]. Despite continued development of the concepts of ‘incremental innovation’ and ‘social creativity’, Hafstein bemoans that “conceptual and legal systems (policies) are still firmly grounded in discursive antagonisms between the individual and the social, between creations and copies” and proposes that, “we recognize the cult and concept of originality for what it is: a Romantic relic and the ideological reflex of a particular economic order… I propose instead a social concept of creativity. Far from distancing folklore from other categories of discourse and practice, this concept underlines their common dynamic: communal origination through individual re-creation”.[8] The process of innovation is no longer attributed to the ‘eureka!’ moment of the individual. Instead the social environment that led to this point of departure from the norm, and will reap the collective benefit of this advance, is acknowledged. It is not the individual that changes society, but society that changes the individual.

This is social liminality; “where social hierarchies may be reversed or temporarily dissolved, continuity of tradition may become uncertain, and future outcomes once taken for granted may be thrown into doubt”.[9] The “dissolution of order” during liminality creates a “fluid, malleable situation that enables new institutions and customs to become established,” and it is in this space of suspended cultural policy that social creativity may be born[10]. The liminal, suspended social structures or unregulated policies of Detroit and noninterventionist policies of Burning Man foster an environment of common understanding and appreciation for originality and creative invention or, a culture of entrepreneurialism.

 

Richard Florida’s well-known and critiqued treatise, The Rise of The Creative Class, lists the key values of the “creative ethos” as individuality, meritocracy, diversity and openness[11]. In an interview with Florida, Startup Communities, author Brad Feld states that a “combination of smart, independent and weird is a beautiful recipe for an incredibly entrepreneurial community. Add in an extremely inclusive ethos and you get magic.”[12] Feld stresses that the profound inclusivity of a successful startup community must include a welcoming edge too; newcomers should be appreciated and accepted and those who leave the area should be celebrated and welcome to stay connected[13]. This leads to powerful and broad networks.

In Stewardship, Connections and Ecology: Contexts for the Development of Talent, Ruth Little describes a move towards social values that appreciate co-creation, community, belonging, expression and opportunity[14]. Combining these ideals with those of individuality, meritocracy, diversity and openness, inclusivity and welcoming as identified by Florida and Feld, and the list starts to form the Ten Principles of Burning Man (radical self-expression, radical inclusion, communal effort, participation).

Political scientist Ronald Inglehart calls this a shift towards “post-materialist values”[15]. There is no market at Burning Man, nothing in bought or sold, consumption cannot replace experience. Arguably, the social effects of a badly damaged market may be similar. These community traits of co-creation, community and belonging, creative expression and opportunity have become important to many Detroiters over the past 30 years as their city’s social, political and economic structures have crumbled to create room for creative ways of living and fulfilling needs, a social phenomenon that has been spreading throughout other Midwestern and Rust Belt cities too.

Amidst this entanglement of culture, values and public policy, cultures must adapt and evolve in order to survive, apparently requiring the aforementioned rule breakers to innovate and improve ways of life. Therefore, what is the role, if any, of public policy in shaping a culture? More specifically, may public policies encourage or support attitudes and actions that are inherently unorthodox, innovative and entrepreneurial; can policy inspire a creative culture?

According to Andrew H. Van de Ven, creating a social infrastructure of entrepreneurialism comes down to three main things: education, encouragement and opportunity[16]. Examples of policies (formal and informal) that support education, encouragement and opportunities for entrepreneurialism will be presented for the diverse case studies of Burning Man and Detroit and the Midwest.

Policy and Entrepreneurial Cultures

Burning Man

The term ‘Burning Man’ refers to three distinct entities, a community of motivated creatives, an organizational body and the week-long Nevada desert art event. All three are rapidly growing and ask participants to embrace Ten Principles (or social policies) in order to create the liminal space that is ripe for individual and social transformation that is inherent to the Burning Man experience.

Each year, Burning Man builds and dismantles a weeklong city of over 50,000 persons in the Nevada Black Rock Desert. Known for its artistic self-expression and community, Burning Man attracts aficionados of various affinities, including Nevada locals, artists, anarchists, punk rockers, ravers, drag queens, Silicon Valley engineers and academics. For the past decade, Burning Man has also encouraged the dissemination of its practices to like-minded collectivities and events around the world. Burning Man is above all about creativity and transformation, on the individual and the community levels. The commonality of the uncommon and the constant of change is part of what unites and defines the Burning Man community and its culture.

A piece by Caveat Magister, a Burning Man blogger, is the best attempt to come to a clear description of what is means to call oneself a member of the Burning Man community that I have found. Magister says that a process of action followed by explanation is consistently expressed as Burning Man culture, “the way most of us encountered Burning Man and decided to participate, (was) we came because we heard people were doing amazing shit:  and when we saw it we thought ‘I could do amazing shit too,’ and then we changed our lives.” [17] Furthermore, a ‘Burner’ occupies a space of transformation that invites but does not impose anything upon anyone else, “To Burn is to act as an agent of possibility:  creating a space where something amazing can happen, letting anyone join, and then cleaning up after it when it’s done.”[18]

One cannot discuss creativity without evoking Richard Florida. In a 2003 Washington Monthly article, the pop economist describes the importance and characteristics of the new social echelon, of the Creative Class, its preferred environment and how cities may attempt to foster these appealing traits in order to attract and retain these drivers for economic prosperity[19]. According to Florida, the creative class endeavors to create meaningful forms, doing radically new things, or things in radically new ways.

The similarities between the culture of creativity Florida encourages cities to somehow create and/or attract and the attributes of the Burning Man community are surprising. Burning Man’s principles of participation, inclusion, self-expression and no spectators are echoed in Florida’s description of a community that favors “active, participatory recreation over passive, institutionalized forms,” original and expressive grassroots culture “where it is hard to draw the line between performers and spectators” and “stimulation, not escape.”  “They want to pack their time full of dense, high-quality, multidimensional experiences,” Florida says, “Seldom has one of my subjects expressed a desire to get away from it all. They want to get into it all, and do it with eyes wide open.”[20]

Katherine Chen’s Enabling Creative Chaos, an intense discussion of the benefits and pitfalls of bureaucratic and collectivist approaches to organization is presented in an analysis of the distinctive and hybridized approach to business, volunteer/community building and the expression of responsibility and expectations that the Burning Man organization has taken in order to sustain the unique culture of this society. Highlighting the organization’s delicate dance of balancing the two social organizational frameworks, Chen discusses how the fringe, marginal or unorthodox character of the community has been protected while interacting with conservative and conformist entities (e.g. the federal authorities that issue the annual permit for the Burning Man event).

“(Before 1996), it was open frontier. It was freedom basically, but as we’ve become a community, there now is a responsibility to other members in the community. There are limits to what you can do… but there’s still a tremendous amount of tolerance,” according to Michael Mikel (aka Danger Ranger) [21]. Since this period of cultural questioning and shift, organizational leaders believe that under-organizing “contributed to the debilitating chaos of (the pre-1996) event where people were too preoccupied with their survival to engage in creative activities,” according to Chen.[22]  Those who have led the organization since, “viewed formal organizing as a crucial step in enabling a creative community to develop and thrive.”[23]

Though formal organizing has been pursued by the Burning Man organization, the event and community is still very much focused on liberty, expression and communal efforts as expressed through informal policies and cultural norms. How are Van de Ven’s entrepreneurial basics of education, encouragement and opportunity present in the creative culture of Burning Man?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPo9TRuKZnI&list=UUjCW74bqylti0YBno51mRPw&index=2

(0:50 – 4:24)

Education

Within the Burning Man community, one is expected and encouraged to direct oneself and there are ample opportunities to help with projects and learn new skills. Chen found that art projects spark conversations that reinforce others’ creative processes. “As strangers swap tips about how to assemble an art project, theme camp, shelter or costume, learning techniques and generating ideas that they could apply to later projects”.[24] Chen continues to say that her interviewees reported that their experiences at Burning Man led them to realize, “that they could be creative, and felt motivated by the principles of self-expression and the gift economy to share with others”[25]. This form of unity amongst a community of creative outsiders is not regulated to Burning Man’s temporary city. Dramatic changes in the economic environment have demanded people in Midwestern and Rust Belt cities unite and practice mutual support in order to adapt to the consequential social changes.

Encouragement

The principles of participation and inclusion, regardless of past experience or expertise, encourage participants to expand their skills and explore their creative potential. Burning Man’s collectivist practices include having volunteers create roles based on their interests, rather than organizational needs.  “It’s not about being efficient, it’s about making people a part of something,” says Burning Man organization board member Harley Dubois.”[26] By endeavoring together, individuals create relationships of trust and reciprocity that form a larger collective identity, or as Putnam puts it, “social capital”.[27] The explicit policy of radical inclusion formalizes the openness, extreme inclusivity and welcoming community attributes that Feld calls for in entrepreneurial communities. It also ensures a culture of innovation and creativity.

Other principles such as immediacy, radical self-expression and radical self-reliance, ask participants to mine their inner resources to realize that their skills, talents and capabilities can be much more plentiful when they are asked to be.

Opportunity

Other principles such as radical self-expression, participation and the gift economy offer participants a wide range of possible activities as they encourage individuals to realize their creative potential by initiating or collaborating on projects.[28] And the relationships and conversations that eventuate from this shared labor lead to ever further networks and opportunities for creative expression. Chen’s interviewees reported that even from the briefest interactions, people learned about groups or individuals with similar art projects or interests, enhancing opportunities for connection and collaboration.[29]

Furthermore, Chen says that, “Rather than delineating all possible and appropriate activities, Burning Man codifies processes by which members can decide upon appropriate activities. This approach specifies the means, or ways of carrying out activities, without specifying the ends, or outcomes,” leaving room for individual creativity and interpretation amidst an explicit cultural policy[30].

Detroit and the Midwest

Detroit has a history of a strong creative economy that is in resurgence now. Arts, media, design, architecture, music, and film are not only alive and well, of the fifty largest metro areas in the United States, Greater Detroit has the second highest percentage of creative workers and ranks as eighth nationally in total arts businesses[31]. The similarities of Detroit and Burning Man’s creative culture and libertarian public policies are illuminated in urbanity expert Aaron Renn’s article “Detroit as Urban Laboratory and New American Frontier.”

Renn applauds Detroit saying, “It’s possible to do things there,” noting that the failure of local government has actually played out as an advantage[32]. “In many cities where strong city government still functions effectively, citizens are tied down by an array of regulations and permits that are actually enforced,” says Renn[33]. Renn gives an example of a Chicago ice cream stand who provided seating for patrons to stick around and enjoy their ice cream and each other’s company that received a citation for breaking local laws. The ice cream stand owners then posted a sign encouraging patrons to bring a chair and were reprimanded for that as well[34]. However according to Renn, “In Detroit, if you want to do something, you just go do it. Maybe someone will eventually get around to shutting you down, or maybe not… You can’t do anything, but it is certainly easier to make things happen there than in most places because of the hand of government weighs less heavily.”[35]

This lack of regulation not only allows creativity and action, it demands it. “The people in Detroit know that they are on their own and if they want something done they have to do it themselves,” comments Renn, who goes on to say that this has led to the development of very creative enterprises, art and ways to deal with challenges[36]. The creative and entrepreneurial culture that is blossoming in Detroit and other Midwest and Rust Belt cities as a result of a lack of regulation may be surprising. But urban analyst Renn concludes, “There’s not much chance a strong city government could really turn (Detroit) around, but it could stop the grass roots revival in its tracks.”[37]

https://vimeo.com/25606750

(1:50 – 2:50) “a hallucination held by a group of people”

When asked about the relationship between public policies and entrepreneurial culture in Detroit, Sola Obayan, principal of the Detroit online marketing consultancy BTO Solutions, replied, “Public policy is directly correlated with a thriving entrepreneurial community, particularly here in Detroit. We’ve witnessed examples of policies that are counter-productive to entrepreneurialism like the red tape that stands between a food cart owner and a legal business.” Interestingly, Obayan notes that recently introduced policies have been created due to initiatives by local entrepreneurs to affect the ineffective bureaucracies of city and state-level governments; the public is writing the policy[38]. Obayan goes on to say that funding is an essential form of support, encouragement and opportunity that comes from government agencies and NGOs in Michigan[39]. Citing the Michigan Right to Work Law and Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Obayan stays that, “Now more than ever state and local government wants to aid entrepreneurs not hinder them.”[40]

Entrepreneurial culture is growing in Detroit and other Midwestern and Rust Belt cities. Many local and states governments, as well as individuals, are working to foster a culture of entrepreneurialism in order to improve lifestyles in this part of the country.

Education

In 2006, the Iowa Department of Economic Development commissioned the report, “Growing Iowa’s Entrepreneurial Economy: Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Support Infrastructure” which identifies a number of key initiatives regarding public education for encouraging a culture of entrepreneurialism.

The report calls for embedding entrepreneurship in the education system at all levels, in order to “encourage innovative and creative thinking in the educational system (that) will give people the skills and inclination to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.”[41] The report goes on to highlight that business skills should be included in arts curriculums and arts and creative thinking skills should be encouraged in business courses too.

The report describes increasing public understanding of entrepreneurship’s contributions to the state’s economy as another way education can add to this endeavor and calls for working with media and getting them onside in order to achieve this[42].

Encouragement

Renn suggests that in order to encourage entrepreneurial ventures the tone of governments should shift from  “Here’s what you’ve got to do if you want to do business in our town” to “Welcome businesses – and what can we do to help?”[43] He goes on to suggest this can be done by reducing red tape, permitting requirements and fees and streamlining their processes[44]. An interesting suggestion of note is that of deferred licensing. Citing the high failure rates and low initial profit margins of most small businesses, Renn suggests operation license and permit fees be delayed in order to encourage more starts ups and lower the barriers to success[45].

Many of the most successful placemaking efforts Ann Markuysen and Anne Gadwa studied “had incubation periods of one to two decades or more”[46]. The authors attribute this lengthy process to the time needed for cultural shirt and to clearing regulatory hurdles.[47] Note that again, deregulation is described as the role of public policy in relation to entrepreneurial efforts. The authors go on to note that the practice of creative placemaking has quickened amidst this ‘Great Recession’, as communities are “addressing newly vacated physical and social structures with innovative ideas, actions and partnerships,” suggesting that though patience is still of benefit, more immediate change via direct action is increasingly evident.[48]

Current public policies may be similarly relaxed, or unregulated in order to encourage entrepreneurial activities. For example, until recently people cleaning up vacant or blighted properties in Ohio could be charged with trespassing[49]. However on December 13, the Ohio State House voted on a bill to eliminate this charge, therefore giving residents more power to improve their neighborhoods, which was amplified by the recent publishing of the addresses and names of owners of blighted Columbus properties[50].

According to  Craig Dreeszen’s “Building Creative Economies: The Arts, Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development”, “Creative economic development requires that people do for themselves, a creative economy cannot be imposed.”[51] Dreeszen quotes the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) federal co-chairman as saying the agency is now “searching for new strategies and options to help empower our people to create more sustainable economic futures for themselves.”[52] An example of such programming is the Ohio Rural Action initiated Mural Corridor program which encourages communities to create public murals in their downtown areas[53]. Bus tours regularly travel the Mural Corridor through its 14 towns, bringing tourist dollars, sense of place and community pride to rural Ohio[54].

Opportunity

The encouragement of the ARC can be seen in the form of business incubators, including subsidized facilities, central administrative services, onsite technical assistance or training in product development, business planning, and marketing as well as access to small business loans or peer lending groups which all increase opportunities[55].

A recent article penned by a group of guest authors who are also entrepreneurs, consistently lists opportunities for networking and a culture that supports collaboration as characteristics of the top 12 ‘startup paradise’ cities[56]. Similarly, Battelle Technology Partnership Practice’s report for Iowa recognizes the importance of facilitating networking for entrepreneurs, investors and researchers in order to encourage and entrepreneurial culture by providing opportunities for collaboration[57]. However it is essential that existing informal networking activities are not interfered with[58].

 

The Midwest is notorious for its humility amidst a dogged work ethic, but in a tough economy, promotion is crucial to garnering enough business to survive. Cultural change is necessary for cultural sustainability.

Omaha native, Jeff Slobotski spent years in San Francisco, Boulder, Boston and Austin and realized the creativity and talent of those cities was present in his hometown too but nobody was telling their story.[59] According to Anna Spinner, who told Slobotski’s story on The Atlantic Cities website, “this single-minded determination may be a good work ethic, it’s bad for building the business community that Slobotski wanted to foster”[60]. So in 2008, Sobotski broke the rules, went out of social bounds, and created a blog, The Silicon Prairie News, and wrote about Omaha’s entrepreneurs, creative and investors.

Effectually creating a social map of who was in the entrepreneurial “space” or culture of Omaha, the connections and social relationships The Silicon Prairie News discovered and inspired, skyrocketed as it fulfilled a need in the community and effectually created the cultural identity of Omaha Entrepreneurs by defining the group. “The site met an untapped need: entrepreneurs craved community to collaborate, share ideas, and build business. But in a town and region where self-promotion was rare and often read as brash, nobody was championing their projects.”[61] This is where the social policy needed to shift. “There’s this balance of being prideful and just being proud of what we’re doing”, says Slobotski.[62]

Though self-promotion seems foreign, a culture of promoting each other is rife. “While this may seem counter-intuitive, praising others is actually one of the behaviors common to the most innovative cultures”, says Professor Jack McGourty, Director of Global and Community Entrepreneurship at the Columbia Business School. “It’s not just that you come up with new ideas but that you’re willing to advocate for the ideas of others,” he says. “When you see really innovative (or entrepreneurial) places, you see that behavior.” The Silicon Prairie News is helping to shift this implicit social policy by demonstrating results.

The Silicon Prairie News is a good example of how entrepreneurial culture can be cultivated via education, encouragement and opportunity. The site educates the local community to know about local initiatives and creative to collaborate with or support. Entrepreneurs are encouraged by the site’s articles and award ceremonies while The Silicon Prairie News offers opportunities by fostering a widespread and diverse network of entrepreneurs, creative and investors.

An example of success is MindMixer, an interactive software platform that found its startup funds through Silicon Prairie News-fostered connections. MindMixer is now used by more than 275 organizations and very profitable. Its developers believe their success came from a larger community of mutual support beyond The Silicon Prairie News and that community is what has kept their company based in Omaha, rather than relocate their headquarters to a more established hub where capital flows more freely and there is a broader talent pool. “I think there’s a collective ‘We’ about building the community here and feeling like you’re part of something that’s a little bigger than you but its early enough that you can have a tangible impact,” he says[63].

The lure of the opportunity to make an impact and belong to a community of creativity is evident in the cultures of Burning Man and Detroit cannot be overemphasized.

Cultural Policy vs. Creativity

“Social innovation is about freedom, about having confidence so we’re not imprisoned by the present.”
– Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of NESTA, the UK’s National Endowment for Science

Atlas presents the complexity of the implicit, “frequently invisible” nature of cultural policy, stating that “in the United States, policy and policymaking are more often implicit than explicit.”[64] The inherent and implied nature of cultural policies mean one can look to other aspects of policy and culture to find the social organization structures that go on to form our cultural norms. However, “the power of creativity and the dynamic nature of culture often defy the coherence and consistency expected of policymaking.”[65] Hence the paradoxical entanglement of the role of public policies for cultural sustainability: social definition for group definition and cohesion, but also a point of departure for rebellious ingenuity. Bedoya also describes this intrinsic “tension between administrative culture and creativity; the rub between efficacy and risk,” stating that culture is threatened by the culture of administration and culture itself[66].

Beyond criticizing the suitability of policy to be directed at the necessary dynamicism of culture, Peck lambasts policies directed to attract creative activities as contrived ‘cliches’. Peck’s scathing response to Florida’s Creative Class discourse claims that the municipal marketing, advertising and PR pitch strategies so often developed in response to this pop urban economics mantra only produce contrived constructions. “Creative strategies have become cliché,” Peck says, as he criticizes the “commodification of the arts and cultural resources, even social tolerance itself.”[67] And the difficulty of researchers to find data to clearly communicate the impacts of investments in fostering a culture of creativity and innovative attitudes and actions seems to support Peck’s point; however this is not merely revealing the nude emperor[68].

Albert Einstein said, “The things that can be counted often count for little while the things that matter most often can’t be counted”. Perhaps the imminent cliché of public policies attempting to attract creativity and innovation and the difficulty of being able to quantify how they can do this, indicates that this social character is more organic, inherent to collective experience and valuable than can be mandated by municipal policies.

Corporate cultural policy

It is not necessary for a city government to collapse in order to make it easy for things to get done; implicit social policies and corporate policies affect cultures too.

The Silicon Prairie News example demonstrates that public policy is not always explicit or governmental. In this example, individual community members with an outsider perspective helped to shift a widespread implied social policy of humility to the point of invisibility to support a culture of common, confident and noisy mutual support. As many critiques of current implicit and explicit cultural policy in America discuss the appropriate roles of the public and private sectors, the form and function of cultural policy guidance of these organizational and social structures is of import too.

In Strom’s discussion of four cities’ “arts as economic development” projects, the author presents the case study of Charlotte, NC, where, “the development of a cultural infrastructure was clearly a project of the business community.”[69] Though the infrastructure the author refers to is the physical built environment, one can see how these investments predicate social effects. Strom goes on to note that “public officials (and public funds) were more important initiators in Philadelphia and Newark, cities that had lost much of their corporate leadership.” Indicating that corporate leadership is preferable, or more, powerful than that of local governments, thus questioning the power, efficacy or even place of the direct and explicit cultural public policy of government.

Is it appropriate for administrative governing bodies to manage or direct culture, especially one of inventive ambition? Can creativity be authorized? It seems that the more appropriate public policy stance is to create frameworks and networks of education, encouragement and opportunities for entrepreneurial efforts.

 

Picture1

Conclusion

Public policies form the context for our social interactions and cultures. Therefore if a creative and entrepreneurial culture is desired, appropriate policies are required in order to develop an encouraging, liberated context.

William Blake identified Eden with the realized human imagination and described his paradise “not as a peaceful garden, but as a fiery city”.[70] Feld describes startup communities as “networks; glorious in all their messiness and chaos.”[71] Reconciling these ‘fiery’ spaces of liminality with a degree of organization and direction via policy in order to increase productivity and creative output is the balancing act this paper attempts to illuminate.

According to Chen, “Organizations can serve rather than rule us…We can take collective responsibility for designing organizations that provide enough structure and coordination without excessive control, to facilitate the pursuit of organizational objectives and incorporate members’ interests… Under such conditions, organizations can reach their full potential as tools that can help us realize particular objectives … (and) when supported by enabling organizations we can realize ideals both massive and minute.”[72] Perhaps following the Burning Man organization’s endeavor to create “conditions that enable creative chaos without debilitating chaos and totalitarianism” [73] may lead towards a more effective and empowering public policy framework for a creative culture, rather than that of assumed liberty and abilities amidst ineffectual regulations as in the case of Detroit.

The nature of policy is to regulate and communicate conformity, whereas the nature of creativity is to innovate and expand reality. Therefore the development of explicit or formal policies related to the encouragement of innovation or entrepreneurialism may be problematic as progressive change demands “dismantling and derailing certain established structures, beliefs and institutions”.[74] It seems that the more appropriate public policy stance is to create frameworks and networks of education, encouragement and opportunities for entrepreneurial efforts. Policies may be created as supportive structures and processes which allow for the unrestricted development of innovative ideas. Similarly, regulations may be relaxed or eradicated to provide for more autonomous actions.

For it is the edge where definition begins, the place of “difficulty and becoming, where new skills are learned,” that is the environment of the innovator[75]. It is not possible, nor desirable, for an entire culture to exist on the periphery of accepted social practices. But it is this group, this social space that is necessary for social innovation, creative expression and entrepreneurialism. The implied and explicit policies of Burning Man, Detroit and other struggling cities provide ample opportunity for threshold experiences such as these which result in the development of cultures of creativity, talent, skills, ideas, innovation, action and entrepreneurialism.

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

Atlas, Caron. 2001. “Cultural Policy: What Is It? Who Makes It? Why Does It Matter?”. In Culture Counts: Strategies for a More Vibrant Cultural Life for New York City. New York: New York Foundation for the Arts, pp.  65-68. http://www.nyfa.org/files_uploaded/Pages_65-68.pdf

Battelle Technology Partnership Practice. 2006. Growing Iowa’s Entrepreneurial Economy: Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Support Infrastructure. Iowa Department of Economic Development

Bedoya, Robert. 2004. US Cultural Policy: Its Politics of Participation, Its Creative Potential. New Orleans: National Performance Network.

Chen, Katherine K. 2009. Enabling Creative Chaos; The Organization Behind the Burning Man Event. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Chen, Katherine K. 2011. “Lessons for Creative Cities from Burning Man: How organizations can sustain and disseminate a creative context.” City, Culture and Society 2(2): 93-100.

Cherbo,  Joni M. and Margaret J. Wyszomirski. 2000. “Mapping the Public Life of the Arts in America”. In The Public Life of the Arts in America. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, pp. 3-21.

Dreeszen, Craig. 2003. Building Creative Economies: The Arts, Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development. Washington, DC: Americans for the Arts. Accessed 12 October 2012. http://www.arc.gov/images/programs/entrep/BuildingCreativeEconomiesReport.pdf

Florida, Richard. 2002. “The Rise of the Creative Class: Why Cities without Gays and Rock Bands are Losing the Economic Development Race”. Washington Monthly, May. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1316/is_5_34/ai_87024488/

Florida, Richard. 2012. “What It Really Takes to Foster an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem”. The Atlantic Cities. Accessed 15 December 2012. http://www.theatlanticcities.com/technology/2012/12/what-it-really-takes-foster-entrepreneurial-ecosystem/4062/

Gilmore, Lee and Mark Van Proyen (eds). 2005. “Beyond Belief: The Cults of Burning Man”. AfterBurn: Reflections on Burning Man. University of New Mexico.

Hafstein, Valdimar Tr. 2004. “The Politics of Origins: Collective Creation Revisited”. The Journal of American Folklore. 117,465 (Summer). p 300-315

The James Irvine Foundation.   2006. Critical Issues Facing the Arts in California: A Working Paper from the James Irvine Foundation. 2006.  Los Angeles and San Francisco. Accessed 12 October 2012. http://irvine.org/assets/pdf/pubs/arts/Critical_Issues_Arts.pdf

Kuratko, Donald F. 2009. Entrepreneurship: Thory, Process, Practice. Eighth edition. South Western Cengage Learning.

“Liminality”. 2012. Wikipedia entry. Accessed 28 August 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liminality#cite_note-3

Little, Ruth.  2011.  Stewardship, Connections and Ecology: Contexts for the Development of Talent.  Accessed 12 November 2012. http://www.amplified10.com/2011/08/ruth-little-stewardship-connections-and-ecology-contexts-for-the-development-of-talent/

Longworth, Richard C. 2009. “Ideas to ensure the Midwest’s success in a global era A Midwestern Marshall Plan? Well, Sort Of”. Global Midwest Policy Brief. February 2009.

Markusen, Ann and Gadwa, Anne.  2010.  Creative Placemaking. National Endowment for the Arts.  http://www.nea.gov/pub/CreativePlacemaking-Paper.pdf

Mulgan, Geoff. 2011. “Social renaissance: When governments, businesses and society collaborate”. Accessed 16 December 2012.

Obayan, Sola. 2012. Personal Communication. 20 December 2012

Peck, Jamie. 2005. “Struggling with the Creative Class”. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 29(4), December :740–770.

Renn, Aaron. 2009. “Detroit: Urban Laboratory and the New American Frontier”. Accessed 15 June 2011. http://www.urbanophile.com/2009/08/09/detroit-urban-laboratory-and-the-new-american-frontier

Spinner, Anna. 2012.”The Blog Igniting Omaha’s Tech Scene”.  The Atlantic Cities. Accessed 12 Dec 2012. http://www.theatlanticcities.com/technology/2012/11/blog-igniting-omahas-tech-scene/3769/

Strom, Elizabeth. 2003. “Cultural Policy as Development Policy: Evidence from the United States”. International Journal of Cultural Policy, Nov. 9(3):247-263.

“These 12 Cities are A Startup Paradise, According to Young Entrepreneurs”, Accessed 10 December 2012. http://tech.co/12-cities-startup-paradise-2012-08

Van de Ven, Andrew H. 1993. “The Development of an Infrastructure for Entrepreneurship”, Journal of Business Venturing (May): p 211-30

Whisnant, David E. 1988. “Public Sector Folklore as Intervention: Lessons from the Past, Prospects for the Future”. In Burt Feintuch, ed. The Conservation of Culture: Folklorists and the Public Sector. Lexington, Ky: The University Press of Kentucky, pp. 233-247

Ziff, Bruce and Pratima V. Rao. 1997. “Introduction to Cultural Appropriation: A Framework of Analysis”. Borrowed Power, Essays in Cultural Appropriation, ed. Ziff and Rao. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. pp. 1 – 30.

 

[1] Ziff, Bruce and Pratima V. Rao. 1997. “Introduction to Cultural Appropriation: A Framework of Analysis”. Borrowed Power, Essays in Cultural Appropriation, ed. Ziff and Rao. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, p 3.

[2] Ziff, Bruce and Pratima V. Rao.

[3] Cherbo, Joni M. and Margaret J. Wyszomirski. 2000. “Mapping the Public Life of the Arts in America”. In The Public Life of the Arts in America. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, p 3.

[4] Cherbo, Joni M. and Margaret J. Wyszomirski.

[5] Kuratko, Donald F. 2009. Entrepreneurship: Theory, Process, Practice. Eighth edition. South Western Cengage Learning. p17.

[6] Hafstein, Valdimar Tr. 2004. The Politics of Origins: Collective Creation Revisited. The Journal of American Folklore. 117,465 (Summer):300-315

[7] Hafstein.

[8] Hafstein. p 308-310.

[9] “Liminality”. 2012. Wikipedia entry. Accessed 28 August 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liminality#cite_note-3

[10]“Liminality”

[11] Peck, Jamie. 2005. Struggling with the Creative Class. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 29(4), December :740–770.

[12] Florida, Richard. 2012. “What It Really Takes to Foster an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem”. The Atlantic Cities. Accessed 15 December 2012. http://www.theatlanticcities.com/technology/2012/12/what-it-really-takes-foster-entrepreneurial-ecosystem/4062/

[13] Florida, Richard. “Entrepreneurial”.

[14] Little, Ruth.  2011.  Stewardship, Connections and Ecology: Contexts for the Development of Talent.  Accessed 12 November 2012. http://www.amplified10.com/2011/08/ruth-little-stewardship-connections-and-ecology-contexts-for-the-development-of-talent/.

[15] Florida, Richard. 2012. “Rise of the Creative Class Revisited”.

[16] Van de Ven, Andrew H. 1993. “The Development of an Infrastructure for Entrepreneurship”, Journal of Business Venturing (May): p 211-30

[17] Caveat Magister. “Who the Hell are Burners Anyway?”. The Burning Blog. 5 April 2012. Accessed 14 August 2012. http://blog.burningman.com/2012/04/uncategorized/who-the-hell-are-burners-anyway/

[18] Caveat Magister. “Who the Hell are Burners Anyway?”.

[19] Florida, Richard. 2002. “The Rise of the Creative Class: Why Cities without Gays and Rock Bands are Losing the Economic Development Race”. Washington Monthly, May. Accessed 15 November 2012. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1316/is_5_34/ai_87024488/

[20] Florida, Richard, “The Rise of the Creative Class”.

[21] Chen, Katherine K. 2009. Enabling Creative Chaos; The Organization Behind the Burning Man Event. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. P.32.

[22] Chen, Chaos, 5.

[23] Chen, Chaos, 6.

[24] Chen, Katherine K. 2011. “Lessons for Creative Cities from Burning Man: How organizations can sustain and disseminate a creative context.” City, Culture and Society 2(2). P 11

[25] Chen “Lessons”

[26] Chen, Chaos, 71.

[27] Putnam qtd in Chen, Chaos, 22.

[28] Chen, “Lessons”

[29] Chen “Lessons”

[30] Chen, “Lessons”

[31] Longworth, Richard C. 2009. “Ideas to ensure the Midwest’s success in a global era A Midwestern Marshall Plan? Well, Sort Of”. Global Midwest Policy Brief. February 2009.

[32] Renn, Aaron. 2009. “Detroit: Urban Laboratory and the New American Frontier”. Accessed 15 June 2011. http://www.urbanophile.com/2009/08/09/detroit-urban-laboratory-and-the-new-american-frontier

[33] Renn, “Detroit”

[34] Renn, “Detroit”

[35] Renn, “Detroit”

[36] Renn, “Detroit”

[37] Renn, “Detroit”

[38] Obayan, Sola. 2012. Personal Communication. 20 December 2012

[39] Obayan.

[40] Obayan

 

[41] Battelle Technology Partnership Practice. 2006. “Growing Iowa’s Entrepreneurial Economy: Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Support Infrastructure”. Iowa Department of Economic Development

[42] Battelle Technology Partnership Practice

[43] Renn, Aaron. 2010. “Improving Chicago’s Business Climate”. Accessed 15 November 2012. http://www.urbanophile.com/2012/10/14/improving-chicagos-business-climate/

[44] Renn. “Improving”

[45] Renn. “Improving”

[46] Markusen, Ann and Gadwa, Anne.  2010.  Creative Placemaking. National Endowment for the Arts.  http://www.nea.gov/pub/CreativePlacemaking-Paper.pdf

[47] Markusen, Ann and Gadwa, Anne

[48] Markusen, Ann and Gadwa, Anne

[49] Cagle, Susie. “Ohio fights a multi-front war against blight”. Accessed 15 December 2012. http://grist.org/news/ohio-fights-a-multi-front-war-against-blight/

[50] Cagle.

[51] Dreeszen.

[52] Dreeszen..

[53] Dreeszen..

[54] Dreeszen

[55] Dreeszen..

[56] “These 12 Cities are A Startup Paradise, According to Young Entrepreneurs”, Accessed 10 December 2012. http://tech.co/12-cities-startup-paradise-2012-08

[57] Battelle Technology Partnership Practice

[58] The James Irvine Foundation.   2006. Critical Issues Facing the Arts in California: A Working Paper from the James Irvine Foundation. 2006.  Los Angeles and San Francisco. Accessed 12 October 2012. http://irvine.org/assets/pdf/pubs/arts/Critical_Issues_Arts.pdf

[59] Spinner.

[60] Spinner..

[61] Spinner.

[62] Spinner.

[63] Spinner.

[64] Atlas, Caron. 2001.  Cultural Policy: What Is It? Who Makes It? Why Does It Matter? In Culture Counts: Strategies for a More Vibrant Cultural Life for New York City. New York: New York Foundation for the Arts, pp.  65-68. http://www.nyfa.org/files_uploaded/Pages_65-68.pdf

[65] Atlas.

[66] Bedoya, Robert. 2004. US Cultural Policy: Its Politics of Participation, Its Creative Potential. New Orleans: National Performance Network.

[67] Peck, Jamie. 2005. Struggling with the Creative Class. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 29(4), December :740–770.

[68] Markusen, Ann and Gadwa, Anne.  2010.  Creative Placemaking. National Endowment for the Arts.  http://www.nea.gov/pub/CreativePlacemaking-Paper.pdf

[69] Strom, Elizabeth. 2003. Cultural Policy as Development Policy: Evidence from the United States. International Journal of Cultural Policy, Nov. 9(3):247-263.

[70] Gilmore, Lee and Mark Van Proyen (eds). 2005. “Beyond Belief: The Cults of Burning Man”. AfterBurn: Reflections on Burning Man. University of New Mexico.

[71] Little, Ruth.  2011.  Stewardship, Connections and Ecology: Contexts for the Development of Talent.  Accessed 12 November 2012. http://www.amplified10.com/2011/08/ruth-little-stewardship-connections-and-ecology-contexts-for-the-development-of-talent/.

[72] Chen, Creative Chaos, 163.

[73] Chen, Chaos, 6.

[74] Whisnant, David E. 1988. “Public Sector Folklore as Intervention: Lessons from the Past, Prospects for the Future”. In Burt Feintuch, ed. The Conservation of Culture: Folklorists and the Public Sector. Lexington, Ky: The University Press of Kentucky, pp. 233-247

[75] Little.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*