The Economic and Social Impact of Kreativität

Since we posted such long videos last time, we thought we’d continue with a couple more rather long videos dealing with the importance of „kreativität“ in our time.

As mentioned in our previous update, since these two videos are quite long, it’s a good idea to bookmark this page, although we strongly recommend that you also subscribe to our free updates through our RSS feed.  Other ways to stay updated include following Action House on Twitter or becoming a fan on Facebook.

Our videos feature a man named Richard Florida who is probably best known for his book, „The Rise Of the Creative Class“ (which I highly recommend).

These two videos are about an hour each, and the content is very similar, so if you only wish to watch one, I think the second is the better choice, as it’s more polished and easier to understand.  However, both videos are quite good, and I recommend watching both (and taking notes!) if you can.

I do also have to mention that the videos are a bit American-centric, but there’s no reason why we can’t extract principles we can apply to our own region.

When I consider what Richard Florida has to say about how creativity affects PLACES, I can’t help but think back to a thesis paper I once wrote.  In it, I explained how certain events in German history changed the cultural identity of our city, Heidelberg.

A Lesson From History
When Napoleon won the battle of Jena-Auerstedt in 1806, he decided to close the University there.  However, the University of Heidelberg was allowed to stay open because of what was called the Confederation of the Rhine.  (This basically meant that the people who lived near the Rhine were required to provide their sons to Napoleon’s army, and in exchange, they were granted certain amenities.)  At that time there were not many Universities in Germany, and when the University of Jena was shut down, it created a migration of students to Heidelberg.  This gathering of young minds sparked new ideas in art, politics, and culture, and effectively turned Heidelberg into the epicenter of the Romantic Movement in Germany in the 19th century.  From this movement came the first student groups (called Burschenschaften) and ultimately, a composite image of the national German identity was formed, culminating with the formation of the German Empire in 1871.

This is our cultural heritage.

We believe that by training people to develop their creativity, we are having a direct impact on the social and economic vibrancy of our region.  This is why we do what we do, because „kreativität“ is crucially important.

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  1. Cosima sagt:

    Your thesis paper might be right, but TOO MUCH happened after 1871. I agree that „Burschenschaften“ is something terribly German. But I am glad that they DONT play a main role in our cultural heritage today. As far as I think, the culture of Western Germany is mainly based on the belief in institutions such as democracy, media, church, whereas the culture of Easten Germany is mainly based on the frustration with institutions. That is was creates culture in Germany today.
    Heidelberg, for sure, is still an attraction for its former Romantic Movement. But what REALLY remains, beside some buildings, a song and a play? If Heidelberg is cultivating its romanticism today, it’s not to save a heritage, but to make money. That’s what I guess.

    • admin sagt:

      I think the point is that our roots as a city are very much still present and lying dormant below the surface, and that with a little bit of effort, we can restore the lost identity of our city as a creative capital in Germany. This will also boost the economy in Heidelberg, as creatively-inclined people get together and exchange ideas and collaborate on new projects. Some of those projects may be things like starting new businesses, but others might be forms of social entrepreneurship, not seeking financial gain, but rather to solve social problems and make Heidelberg a better place to live.

      Heidelberg might be preserving its Romantic history (regardless of why) but I think it’s safe to say that for the most part, it is not cultivating creativity, and some might go as far as to say that there is an aversion to new ideas and creative culture. (Consider the adversity faced by people who suggest ideas for what to do with places like the Bahnbetriebswerk or the Altes Hallenbad, and also, consider why Halle_02 and Villa Nachttanz are closing down. While you’re thinking so much, go ahead and ask yourself about how difficult it is for people with good ideas to start their own businesses. The city requires quite a lof of bureaucracy of them, but offers them little support and few benefits.)

      Basically, until Heidelberg begins accomodating the creative community, creative people living in other cities will be less likely to consider living or working here, and creative people living in Heidelberg will be more likely to consider moving elsewhere, which, in my opinion, is a dangerous situation for the city. Our task then, is to demonstrate the value that creativity brings to the city, and to overcome the mindset that we are just a bunch of bohemians who want to wildly throw paint all over old buildings and dance to indie music while we drink and party into the early morning hours.

      • Cosima sagt:

        so we are not having fun? thats sad… 😉
        but i think the same. let’s do something!

      • Christoph sagt:

        These are interesting and inspiring thoughts, but also very controversial ones. I’m almost sure, that Heidelberg never was Germany’s creative capital. Goethe (after some years in Frankfurt) and Schiller (after some years in Mannheim) did most of their work in Weimar, Kant was in Königsberg, Bach in Leipzig, Luther in Wittemberg, the influential Bauhaus design emerged in Dessau and Weimar. Some important thinkers and poets stayed a time in Heidelberg (e.g. Hegel, Jaspers, Arendt, Habermas, Melanchthon). Names, that are justly associated with Heidelberg, like Max Weber or Herrmann v. Helmholtz belong to scientists, not to artists or poets. Why? Maybe because there was not enough room or not enough demand for their work. Anna Seghers, Joseph von Eichendorff and Gottfried Keller (poets) studied here and moved away afterwards.
        But the Mannheim-Heidelberg region has alway seen successful entrepreneur characters as Karl Benz (Daimler-Benz), Friedrich Engelhorn (BASF – top chemical company of the world), Dietmar Hopp (SAP), Heinz Georg Baus (Bauhaus – first german DIY-market), Götz Wolfgang Werner (dm drugstores). If business has something to do with creativity – and I’m sure it has – our region is a creativity region.
        But I’m a bit skeptical about the chances for the emerging of a local indie culture (artists, fashion) as well as respective creative businesses (innovative consultancies, think tanks, media). In these fields we have not much predecessors here.
        Maybe let’s list chances and hindrances for creativity in Heidlberg:

        + CHANCES +
        1. The city’s attraction for some sort of intelectual people
        2. High amount of local purchasing power
        3. The university with lots of creative students from all over the nation and also some parts of the world

        – HINDRANCES –
        1. No (or much to little) space for creativity (high costs)
        2. Maybe ignorance and a lack of comprehension on the site of the local establishment for what up-to-date-creativity means
        3. Local demand for a creative sector (artists, agencies) is not really clear

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