We Are Living in An Era of Creative Economy (I)
We Are Living in An Era of Creative Economy (I)
  • Kim Ho Sung
  • 승인 2013.10.16 12:12
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We just called the 21st century the era of information a few years ago, but now the world is stepping into the creative economy age. Reflecting this trend, the National Economic Council of the US government announced “A Strategy for American Innovation: Securing our Economic Growth” in 2011 and insisted that investment in creativity and imagination will ensure future jobs and industries. Early this year, the newly established Korean Government also suggested ‘realization of creative economy’ as a goal of its administration to keep up with global trends. The Korean government and public institutions established a variety of action plans, and attempted a meaningful change to give shape to the goal and task of government administration. The first challenge confronted with was what the word “creativity”, which is a familiar and preposterous word somehow, means, and the reason why “creativity” is often mentioned as a key at this moment.
The lexical meaning of “creativity” is “ability to produce something new through imaginative skill, or a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form.” John Howkins, who used the word ‘creative economy’ for the first time, defined ‘creativity’ as “production by one or more people of ideas and inventions that are personal, original and meaningful” in his book Creative Economy. Traditionally, creativity means producing something new, whereas Steve Jobs, the icon of the creative innovation, said “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” He thought ‘creativity’ is interpreting and blending existent elements in a new way. Steve Jobs’ view could be a more sophisticated and faithful account. The ‘creativity’ that the Korean government suggests also means creating a new value that did not exist before by integrating various values and elements.
In this perspective, a creative economy starts from a critical mind that we cannot ensure sustainable growth and we cannot create new high-quality jobs through existing methods in a global economic slowdown. That is to say, creative economy is a new economic strategy that creates quality jobs through enhancing existing industries, and creating new industries and markets by grafting the public’s imagination and creativity onto science technology and ICT (The report of Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning for President 06.2013).
The Korea Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Creativity (KOFAC) supports a variety of programs and educational works to expand social consciousness on science and technology, and improve public understanding. For the past several months, KOFAC has concentrated on enhancing and reorganizing its work based on imagination, challenge, and start-up. Especially, KOFAC has focused on providing and developing various hands-on science programs that can promote creative imagination of children and youth and challenge their spirit with high quality.
The fruit of the most successful work of KOFAC is the Korea Science Creativity Festival 2013. The festival has been held annually during the summer vacation on a nationwide scale. The festival this year was evaluated favorably for its program contents as well as quality by improving its program construction and changing its contents in accordance with the paradigm of creative economy. The ‘Korea Science Creativity Festival 2013: Science with the wings of imagination’ was held at KINTEX, Ilsan, from 30th July to 4th August. The number of visitors including adolescents and parents was about 315,000. At two spacious soccer fields, 400 programs in 3 sectors, creative challenge concert, and start-up workshop were provided under 3 themes: imagination, challenge, and start-up.
At the sector of “Infinite Imagination World”, the “Infinite Imagination Zone” was organized to provide hands-on experiences in seven topics: 1) Information and Communications, 2) energy/material, 3) environment/life, 4) basic science, 5) national defense/machinery/construction/transportation, 6) mathematics, and 7) STEAM. Participants could design their own ideas based on the experience of science and technology, and realize the idea with a 3D printer and laser cutter in the Infinite Imagination Class.
The sector of ‘Creative Challenge Concert’ was composed of the programs such as Start-up Audition, Start-up Talk concert, and Science Lecture Show. Start-up Audition is the contest for 15 ideas which advanced to the final after the preliminary rounds, during which 800 ideas were presented. Some celebrities participated in the Start-up Talk Concert, and talked about their own sufferings, challenges, and achievements. Particularly, KOFAC hosted the Science Lecture Show organized by some professionals of Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom. The lecture show was extremely well received.
Also, the Smithsonian Institution and Office of STEM Education Partnerships in Northwestern University joined with various STEAM programs for Korean teacher training such as ARTLAB+ and FUSE Studio. In addition, the National Youth Science Inquiry Contest, which is the nation’s largest youth science festival, was held as a part of the Korea Science Creativity Festival 2013.
In the past, most of the main programs were for children and youth, whereas this year we designed ‘Creative Fair’ as an adults’ program, which was well-received by visitors including parents and teachers. Visitors could experience creative activities related to real life with the club members. Although the event was newly planned this year, 24 groups including DIY club, college students clubs, and social enterprises joined the Fair.
The major feature of the Korea Science Creativity Festival 2013 is that the number of the programs that visitors can experience in person increased compared with the period when KOFAC had mainly focused on exhibition in festivals. By going through the three sectors imagination, challenge, and start-up progressively, visitors could naturally understand and experience creative economy.
An example is ‘Creative Lab (C-LAB)’.‘C-LAB’ is one form of FAB-LAB attempted experimentally in the country. Some kind of FAB-LAB such as Electric Car Design & Manufacturing, Wind Power Blade Manufacturing & Power Generation, and Interactive LED Lighting Class were opened and caught popularity. Children who participated in the program could design and make what he or she imagined utilizing simple instruments and machine tools.