State to focus on creative economy

other_state_newsBy Bobby Harrison

Daily Journal Jackson Bureau

JACKSON – The business community heard about plans to grow the state’s creative economy and was told to be creative in growing its own businesses Thursday during the annual meeting of the Mississippi Economic Council.

More than 2,000 business people from across the state heard Gov. Phil Bryant and others talk about enhancing focus on the state’s creative economy – whether it be the music industry or other segments of the arts – during 2014. Bryant said during the annual meeting of the state’s Chamber of Commerce that with no focus on the industry, 60,000 people already are employed in jobs related to the creative economy.

“Sixty thousand jobs is like having twelve Nissan plants in the state,” the governor said, pointing out attractions like the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum in Tupelo and musicians like blues legend B.B. King and many others.

Bryant said the focus on the state’s creative economy will continue with various efforts in the coming months that he predicted would result in job growth.

Part of that effort is well-known Mississippi artists returning to their hometowns to perform at various festivals. Singer/songwriter Steve Azar, who has written multiple country music hits, such as “I Don’t Have to Be Me (Til Monday),” performed at the MEC event. He has recently moved from Nashville back to his hometown of Greenville to continue his music career.

The event’s keynote speaker, Peter Sims, an author and entrepreneur from San Francisco, told the state’s business leaders that creative changes in their company – even small ones – can pay large dividends.

Sims is author of “Little bets: How breakthrough ideas emerge from small discoveries.” He told of how former Apple founder Steve Jobs in the 1980s purchased a hardware company that as an offshoot developed the Pixar technology that transformed film animation, first with the movie “Toy Story.”

“We are all creative,” he said. “Everybody can do creative. It is a process.” He said it is a process that requires work and planning.

He quoted Alan Kay, a computer scientist who helped develop much of the Apple technology, saying “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

bobby.harrison@journalinc.com