“Creative Opportunity” by Rick Frost, Chief Executive Officer, The Winnipeg Foundation*

Sep 9, 2010 | Corporate Member News

Rick Frost

Two weeks ago, I circulated the following quote to about 100 of my social media contacts. It is from Richard Florida’s recent article in the Atlantic magazine:

At bottom, a jobs strategy needs to start from a fundamental principle: That each and every human being is creative and that we can only grow, develop, and prosper by harnessing the full creativity of each of us. For the first time in history, future economic development requires further human development. This means develop a strategy to nurture creativity across the board – on the farm, in the factory, and in offices, shops, non-profits, and a full gamut of service class work, as well as within the creative class. Our future depends on it

 Many of the recipients took time to acknowledge their strong agreement with the author’s point. If my small sample is any indication, there is a lot of interest in how we collectively create the environment and opportunity for people to make a difference.

The response from one young woman also revealed the frustration that emerges when local talent is not used. Her comments began by noting the recent news article in the Free Press advising that Travel Manitoba was awarding a contract to a Vancouver firm. She also referred to an earlier decision to use a New York firm to create the Province’s: “Spirited Energy” slogan. Her conclusion was that a creative young Winnipegger wishing to do business in the city should set up shop in Toronto! For those of us who want to make Winnipeg a “sticky” city — an attractive place to live, work and play — this is not what we want to hear.

Fortunately, others are having a different experience. For example, I recently attended the official opening of the Whiteshell River Bridge near Nutimik Lake. This remarkable cable-stayed span of almost 100 yards is part of the Border to Beaches Trail—a made-in-Manitoba section of the Trans-Canada Trail. Building a 370 km path from West Hawk Lake to Grand Beach demands the incredible imagination and dedication of countless volunteers. For me, this amazing bridge demonstrates just how creative Manitobans can be.

The Winnipeg Foundation supported 670 different charitable projects last year and many were creative ideas, from warming huts at the Forks to a complete re-make of Central Park. We know that building a sticky city requires this kind of innovation. But, as Richard Florida says, we have to support the creative spirit everywhere so everyone can share the opportunity to make a difference. If people are looking for a place where they can influence the quality of community life, let’s make Winnipeg the city to do it.

Care to comment on this blog? Send your remarks to comments

*This post originally appeared in Rick’s blog, you can check it out here. To learn more about The Winnipeg Foundation click here.

Foundation Launches a New Blog

Winnipeg Foundation Blog is the Foundation’s second blog, featuring Foundation staff and guest bloggers sharing their perspectives on relevant charitable sector issues. We envision this blog as a community conversation – a new way to encourage your thoughts and comments on relevant and timely issues. Let us know what you think.

Click here to read the first blog entry.

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