RadioBDC Logo
The Afterlife | Yacht Listen Live
 
 
< Back to front page Text size +

Ride the Wave Into a New Creative Economy

Posted by Devin Cole  February 7, 2012 09:45 AM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

ocean-wave.jpgIn my last blog, I argued that the world needs more systems thinkers given the scope of problems/opportunities we face. I believe our major systems have a long way to go, and I write from that angle and set of assumptions. But having an awareness of how our systems, and therefore work habits, are changing is a critical skill for anyone in this economy, not just social change enthusiasts.

There are two ways to look toward the future of work:

  • What might the world need from us in terms of the companies we build or work we do?
  • To what degree are we prepared to navigate industries and work environments that are changing fast whether we like it or not?

Many folks have written about the shift were undergoing now from an Industrial age/manufacturing economy to a post-Industrial, creative economy, cross-sector collaboration, and the kind of work environments required for Gen Y-ers/Millennials to thrive. Fast Company (and Fast CoExist), Forbes, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Boston's own Root Cause are all over it. Everyone seems to be talking about how work is becoming more networked, flexible, and adaptive. But what does this larger shift to a creative economy mean for the individual? For the 20 something early in the process of building his/her career? or the mid-career professional considering a change?

Winston Churchill wisely said, If youre going through hell, keep going. A related ethic might be something like, If everything is changing around you, ride the wave. Theres no use fighting it, and besides change is energizing and empowering. Here are a few ideas as to how to ride the wave into a new creative economy:

Surround yourself with motivated, inspired people. One of the reasons I love being a connector for Boston World Partnerships is that its put me smack in the middle of an inter-generational network of people who make things happen. Whether you work for an organization or for yourself, be sure to run with a pack of highly creative people who challenge you and ensure that you keep learning.

Take smart risks. Im always floored at the number of folks who tell me they have ideas for businesses/projects (or for how theyd like their current work to be different), but dont act on those desires. Its difficult knowing where to start sometimes, and hard work wont always get us exactly what we want, but taking that bold risk is almost always worth it in ways we can never predict. And theres a way to do it without putting yourself in a professionally or financially precarious situation.

Loosen your grip on your work. If work is becoming more flexible and adaptive, we must become more flexible and adaptive, too. Many of us have our identities wrapped up in our work. Try thinking of your work as a series of experiments, take some emotional distance from those experiments, and be willing to let them go or change shape.

Consider yourself an expert. The truth is, most of us arent experts in our fields; were leaders and lifelong learners. But all of us can be experts at knowing what our strengths are as well as what makes each of us tick. The more you take the time to understand your unique value in this economy and get clear about the work you really want to do, the better equipped youll be to take on new opportunities when they arise.

In my next blog, Ill tackle some of the questions and challenges associated with taking creative risks in a new economy. Id love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.

Lex Schroeder writes frequently on leadership, change, and creativity. She is a writer, editor and Program Associate at The Berkana Institute, and a Connector for Boston World Partnerships.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

ABOUT GLOBAL BUSINESS HUB
Boston World Partnerships' expert "Connectors" discuss business strategy, entrepreneurship, Boston's place in the world economy, and much more. Using their insider perspective, they illuminate how Boston's innovative companies start, grow, scale, and go global.

Meet Boston's coolest, smartest and most dynamic founders in our REEL Innovators video series!

Introducing...

BetaBoston technology news logo
Innovation and technology news that matters, on a new website from the Boston Globe, featuring Scott Kirsner and other original reporting.
More...
archives