Creativity, and creative ideas, have long been a source of unlocking financial value (or helping to rapidly build growth) for business's. In essence creativity has largely become a tool for economics to do it's stuff. With the vast majority of creatives working under the economic objectives of society, almost to the point where you'd question what other roles creativity has to play in the world. Let's take a couple of example, from the world of London's Underground Transport.
Unlocking economic value
The first is an idea I had myself a while ago after reading this piece about how £30m sits unused on Oyster cards every year. And how that sleeping value could potenitaly be unlocked. Now that value has a route to becoming unlocked, via the below idea. So in this case creativity is serving an economic objective, all be it for a very good cause.
Unlocking social value
The second example is again from the Underground. But this time the creative idea is attempting to unlock a different type of value. The value of our better nature, in this case giving up your seat for someone in far more need of it than yourself.
The problem we're now facing after decades of reliance in the powers economics to get us through are equally changing the agenda of creativity. Economics is very good at modeling the systems that numbers are passed back and forward within, but less good at allowing for softer metrics like the worth of topsoil, a stable ecosystem or the economic value of honey bees. If you ask your average economist how they'd account for this stuff in their models they'd largely be at a loss to come up with a reasonable solution. But perhaps creativity can pick up in making this bridge, and solving problems like these. Traditionaly these softer, but more enduring, issues (like knowing to give your seat up for someone) were dealt with by the values of religion. But as we've slowly seen science disprove a lot of what religion is based on we've also lost the other fundamentaly important bits like guiding our values and beliefs. Then politics took up the same social challenges but ultimately never really achieved any meaningful impact as the modern peoples belief in politicians is probably only one up from their belief the religious leaders, of the faiths they now have no particular faith in.
So could creativity pick up where both religion and politics have failed? Could a new age of enlightenment be driven by individuals and ideas? Could the need to educate a new generation in creative thinking (and creative doing) be the alternative for the increasingly doomed root we're currently following? I'm not quite sure, but sitting opposite an empty tube seat with three icons of the most vunerable members of society, that's the conclusion I came to.