Olympia due for growth spurt

October 9th, 2015 by Ken

Olympia is due for a major growth spurt in the near future due to the types of people who live here.   That’s the assessment of Dr. Riley Moore from St. Martin’s University, who recently completed a study of  creativity in Thurston County.

Drawing upon research from many different sources, the idea centers around the concept of “what drives growth.”   Moore faces the question posed by others  that it is people and places which drive growth and not industries and the location of businesses.

People tend to gather together in locations where “creative” people reside.   It is people who provide stimulus, who force innovation, who make things happen.    It’s a “creative class” that is tolerant and accepting of different ideas and opinions.

While education is an element, it is not the key.   Moore points out that if education was the sole indicator of creativity – then people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs wouldn’t have been mentioned because they dropped out of school.

Creativity can actually be measured through a combination of knowledge, ideas,and  the location of certain occupations  which draw people to areas.   As some creative people move in, others follow, and soon you have a “creative cluster” of people.

Moore says Olympia rates high on the “creativity scale” – right up with Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Boulder, Portland and Austin.    He says that Austin and Olympia have much in common including a state capitol, a progressive culture and an entertainment and music scene.

In later conversation, Moore pointed out that the Seattle metro area has become so costly to live in, that young entrepreneurs and artists are forced to move south for housing.   Some of them currently reside in Thurston County.   As traffic problems continue on I-5, fewer and fewer of them will commute north to Seattle and will settle in Olympia.   That will drive others and soon creative clusters will grow – – attracting more creative people.

I’ve just touched on a small portion of his study.   The full study is available by contacting Moore at St. Martin’s.

Posted in Business, Government, Informational, The Real News

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