A quiet revolution is happening.
If you listen carefully, you can hear it all around you.
There is President Obama, saying that young people need to be making things, not just consuming them.
Design commentators are talking about ‘an age of participation’, in which we participate, not just consume.
Community movements such as Transition Towns are groups of local people, from Brixton to California to Australia, working together to devise creative, practical solutions to climate change and peak oil.
Chief Executives, such as Andy Bonds at ASDA, are saying that we are moving from DIY to CIY – create it yourself. But he still talks about us as consumers. And consumers are passive.
From consumer to creativist
A sustainable society begins with who we are.
Many of the routes proposed for sustainable development are ‘sticking plasters’ in that they do not address the fundamental reasons why our current way of life is not sustainable. One of the main reasons for this is our disconnection from our values and our gifts, from our communities and from the earth.
We are labeled as consumers. That is our identity. Our identity as consumers means that we are defining ourselves by what we do and have, not by who we are. Our identity as consumers has been manufactured so that there is a market for all the goods that are mass produced. In a sustainable society, we cannot defined by as consumers. We need a new identity. I am proposing that our new identity is as creativists.
Creativists actively create their identity, their place in the world, based on an understanding of their gifts, their values and the contribution that they can make. They are defined by who they are, not what they do or have. And by operating in the space of ‘be’ rather than ‘do’ or ‘have’, we open up new possibilities to create a new world. And we need to unlock our creativity to imagine a different way of living and working.
As creativists, we first need to reconnect with who we are. If we reconnect at an individual level, we can then begin to reconnect with our communities, with our work and with the earth.
Walt Disney said ‘We make money, so we can create things’. Most companies create things to make money. Creativist individuals and businesses make money so that they can create things. Things which are valuable, useful, beautiful – and sustainable. Creativists are not just creators, but they are part of a collective belief system, they are activists as well.
The Creativist Manifesto brings together thinking from different perspectives including philosophy, psychology, sociology and management theory. It looks at looks at the evidence that we are beginning to shift from a consumer to a creativist society, asks what the implications are, and questions how we can accelerate this shift – as individuals, as communities, as businesses – in order to speed the transition to a more sustainable society.
I am currently in the process of writing The Creativist Manifesto. I would love to hear your thoughts, observations and contributions to the debate – please get in touch.