BUILDING THE CREATIVE CLASS
As Hong Kong businesses search for ways to enhance their products and services, the creative class will have more importance than ever before.
In the wondrously diverse city of Hong Kong, a new order of art and design flourishes amidst a global calling for creative practitioners. In Asia’s World City, 40,500 cultural and creative industries account for approximately HK$110 billion, or five per cent, of Hong Kong’s gross domestic product. Recognized as a gateway to the East for international brands, the city affirms its position as a global hub of creativity and innovation. It boasts a prospering art scene with top-tier galleries, one of the largest art auction markets in the world, and major art fairs that include Art Basel and Art Central, which enhance the city’s prestige.
The world is catching up as creative fields merge with every market sector to meet the demand for innovative thought. The Martin Prosperity Institute, in a 2011 report, referred to the Creative Class as “a group of individuals employed in jobs where they apply creative problem-solving skills. Their work is not limited to generating new ideas — it also requires acting on new inventions and technology to produce new goods and services.” What profession or business does not require problem-solving, or the development of new goods and services? Creativity is a trademark that transcends a job title and becomes a way of life.
The permeable nature of all enterprises demands a diverse workforce armed with an abundance of capacities. Today we observe the rapid emergence of new technologies in UX, 3-D, wearables, virtual and augmented reality, and more — all of which require design thinking, technical knowledge and research that are nurtured and refined by creative education. One must understand user experience, for example, to conceive the interfaces that bridge real and virtual worlds.
Trends show that careers in visual media will skyrocket on a global level. A whitepaper by Cisco forecasts rapid growth in online video demand, predicting that mobile data traffic will increase at three times the rate of fixed IP traffic by 2019. Online video serves the needs of the entertainment industry and has also become integral to the recreational and marketing purposes of businesses in fashion, game design, and more. Think Pokémon Go, applied to life in general.
Creative universities and Hong Kong meet at the crossroads of professional creative thought and global demand. A 2014 Forrester Consulting survey of 324 global decision makers notes that “82 per cent of companies believe there is a strong connection between creativity and desired business results.” Further, “creative companies enjoy a greater market share by a factor of 1.5 compared to their less creative counterparts.” Successful, forward-thinking businesses value creative minds. Art and design alumni contribute their education and skills to industry leaders including IBM, Gulfstream Aerospace, Procter & Gamble, Apple, and Microsoft.
In order to develop an education into a profession, students need exposure to mentors, industry experts and educators who nurture emerging knowledge and skills. An education that integrates real-world internships and collaborative partnerships allows students to gain authentic career practice. Students need environments that embrace the foundational tenets of visual arts, sciences and humanities. Along with trailblazing technologies that emphasise industry currency and encourage invention, students also require access to overseas opportunities. An international education teaches global thought, provides boundless inspiration, and broadens horizons. These are the experiences that foster exploration and ingenuity, and these are the career foundations that fuel success for creative industries on a global scale.
The bedrock of creative thought begins early, when students are provided an encouraging, vanguard environment in which to build creative proficiencies and to understand their application in the workplace
As the world increasingly looks to Asia for new ideas, business innovation, and economic growth, Hong Kong stands at the forefront to fulfill the global demand for creative content and capital.