Monday, October 25, 2010

Exit the "Knowledge Economy"...Enter the "Creative Economy"

I recently heard Gary Hamel speak at the Ross School of Business (University of Michigan) in Ann Arbor.  I had never heard of Gary before walking into the auditorium, and after listening to him for 45 minutes, I wanted to know everything about him.  This guy is good! (

I took some interesting notes during his talk.  Gary is an expert corporate strategist who specializes in the topic of management, specifically how to "reinvent" management.  The point that resonated most with me was a slide he posted called "Gary's Hierarchy:"

Essentially, Gary argues that intelligence is pretty much par for the course in today's economy and the real way to differentiate is through creative ability.  You can outsource all of the technical skills we were told would take us deep into the 21st century (programming, engineering, finance, etc.).  He believes that business is more turbulent today and companies are not able to mitigate the turbulence fast enough.  Modern management styles are no longer modern (most taught management styles are from the beginning of the 20th century). Couple this with a faster business cycle and you too may see the need for more agility and creativity from leadership.

Listening to Gary, I immediately took pity on the millions of Americans who are making one of the various paths through higher education their own.  It seems like an all too common solution for the current recession we are in is to go back to school...and universities know this so school is not getting cheaper anytime soon.  Is all of the money spent on tuition to get a certificate and get "smart" worth it when the more applicable skills come from unlocking creative ability?