Innovate Mississippi

Point Innovation Magazine Winter 2013

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FEATURE Blending Innovation and Technology to Define a Creative Culture Becky Gillette C reative economy has become a trending When we are developing the Blues Trails and topic in economic development circles. inviting visitors to the B.B. King Museum or the But pinning down exactly what it means Elvis Presley Birthplace, at the same time that we is difficult because the definition varies for those are growing jobs and encouraging tourism, we are who choose to work under this umbrella. building civic pride and using it to educate future "When you see creative economy studies by citizens. It is a very holistic sector. It is a job creator, states, by universities and by industries, you will an economic stimulant that works in concert with see people talking about it many different ways," traditional economy development. It is new and Malcolm White, said Malcolm White, director of tourism for the growing, and it uses technology. Its greatest Director of Tourism, Mississippi Development Mississippi Development Authority (MDA). "We hallmark is that it is technology friendly." Authority define the Mississippi creative economy as the In 2011, MDA published a study finding that sum of all wealth that is generated by the state's cultural and the creative economy represents 64,000 jobs in the state, 3.5 creative enterprises, institutions, people and places. Furthermore, percent of the total economy. it adds to the value of traditional economic sectors like manufac Even manufacturing has a niche in the creative economy. turing, agriculture and tourism. It influences where people Toyota and Nissan's vehicles rolling off the assembly line started choose to live, work, travel and learn." with an artist's rendering. No dress a woman has ever worn or tie Some people may think of the creative economy as traditional a man has ever worn was manufactured before being designed by artwork like pottery or paintings, but it is also all about technology. an artist. It includes some of the state's biggest business success stories like "Almost all business starts with the creative, innovative Viking Range, LLC and Peavey Electronics. It encompasses the experience, becomes a product that is sold and distributed, and Elvis Presley attractions in Tupelo and Paul's Pastry Shop in then tax bases are built on it," said White. "The phones we are Picayune. It can even include entire creative communities like talking on are works of art: they are a camera, a telephone, a GPS Oxford, Ocean Springs and the Fondren neighborhood of Jackson. and a typewriter. They can also be a creative use of innovative "In terms of technology, our creative economy includes new technology, such as when I use Instagram to tell stories about enterprises that we hadn't considered before," said White. "Unlike places to travel, places to stay and experiences we can have in mature industries like manufacturing or agriculture, it is new and Mississippi. We also make films in Mississippi. One of things we growing. It can be used in many ways to tell your own story. do in a creative economy is create films to tell stories, to create jobs, to entertain ourselves and create business activity." 42 Pointe Innovation

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