Case Study: The Future of Creativity

Greenfield research on the future of the creative economy.

  • Traveled the U.S. for two years covering 20,000 miles on the road.
  • Interviewed 65+ thought leaders across domains and industries.
  • Secured publishing partnership and lectured on the project at venues across the country.
 
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01

Intro

 

The Future of Creativity is the culmination of two years and 20,000+ miles on the road, where we connected with the individuals shaping our collective future: visionary entrepreneurs and investors, design futurists, prophet artists, change agents — the dreamers and the doers.

 
 

As the global economy becomes more intangible (and creative), how will talent thrive during the greatest industrial revolution of human history?

 
 


02

Strategy
Highlights

 

(Mis)Adventure Becomes a Project

Though it started as a short road trip, life on the road quickly became the new normal, and somewhat serendipitously, an ambitious greenfield research project on the future of the creative economy. As creative professionals with ever-evolving careers and new opportunities on the horizon, we realized the need for a thesis on the future of work and life.


Orienting to a New Market

As a greenfield research project with five areas of focus, the Future of Creativity is designed to curate a collective vision on the future of the creative economy. The intersection of creativity and culture inspires ideas, catalyzes innovation, and drives new products — benefits instrumental to human development. Given that independent workers are the world’s largest workforce, we invested time, resources, and relationships to more intimately understand how individuals — and their work, ambitions, and lifestyle — were evolving.


Build a Foundation

With any endeavor, the journey is more important than the destination. We embraced the uncertainty of life on the road and a greenfield research project because we knew this would structure our entire experience to become more open to emergent and divergent trends, insights, and opportunities — all of which required a significant amount of discipline and a high risk tolerance within our daily lives. The lack of pre-defined conclusions cemented a strong foundation for all our work in this project and others for the last four years.

 
 
 

We will all need creative visions for how our lives are organized and valued in the future, in a world where the role and meaning of work start to shift.

James Manyika

Chairman of the McKinsey Global Institute

 
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03

Outcomes

 

Key Outcomes Delivered

(Mis)Adventures

Had a helluva a great time meandering around the U.S. making friends at every stop, and experienced the unfathomable beauty of the landscapes of this wild country. Learned to love the great outdoors, and today even a simple road trip will now melt away any stress.

Research & Discovery

Interviewed 50+ industry leaders across a variety of domains, and learned immensely from each. Poured over countless articles, surveys, reports, analysis, and more from leading research organizations, consulting firms, universities, and more.

Thought Leadership

Wrote an article series that forced discipline to our thinking and processing in real-time amidst the fog of non-stop travel. Presented our learnings and insights while on the road at speaking engagements and through the articles, creating a valuable feedback loop that impacted our overall approach and discovery.


Emergent Thesis

Established foundational thinking that has shaped our work and goals; even for Jen (my wife) to transition into graduate school for sustainability as a means to drive a major career pivot.

 
 


04

Supporting
Elements

The future is in the hands of creators.

The creative economy is shifting paradigms, creating opportunity. Life on the road was challenging — it was exhausting. It was also exciting. It forces a focus and mindfulness on the present, otherwise the infinite variables of possibility overwhelm the mind. With that focus, we were able to execute a lot of work on the project.

 
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05

Areas of
Responsibility

Areas of Responsibility

Driving. Filling up the gas tank. Navigating. Scheduling vehicle maintenance. Finding accommodations. Putting up the occasional tent. Enjoying countless sunsets.

Collected (and read) innumerable research articles, statistics, reports, and other data to help ground our understanding and thinking.

Lead all outreach to interview candidates as we traveled; implemented and managed the tools for all outreach and partnership development.

Co-wrote a series of articles with a nationally published creative publication: digital and in-book..

Developed a number of speaking opportunities and crafted the topics, presentations, etc.

Built the brand, messaging, site, etc. while traveling the U.S.

 
 
 

Life is a journey, not a destination

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Author,Lecturer, Philosopher, and Poet

 
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06

Learnings

 

Key Learnings

Liminal Space

Life on the road breeds an ever-increasing desire to explore more and to travel more of the road unknown — it quickly becomes addicting. The more we see, the greater our awareness of that which has yet to fall within our view. All the while, we long for a sense of retreat, stability and familiarity. The never-ceasing conflict of life on the road. Living in the midst of that tension between two opposing forces — the liminal space — is now the familiar.

Stories Matter

Everyone has an epic story, but not all realize it’s unique value. Communities have more in common than not. Yet we are divided due to the minority of issues. If more people understood the value of their own story and how everyone’s stories are intertwined into a stunningly beautiful narrative, the gaps that drive division would narrow rapidly.

An Ally is Needed

Collaboration is critical for success in the future of the creative economy. Shared risk among partners will allow for greater co-creation of value. Individuals with competing priorities, enlightened self-interest, and eroding trust of institutions, need an ally. The vanguards of the creative economy need a champion to serve them through the next and greatest industrial revolution in human history.

 
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07

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