Creative Molecular Economy

In the 2012 Global Risks Report for the World Economy Forum (, the central idea was that we live in a time of such historical change, no less that historical transformation, that we are faced with the need to “reconceptualize all our institutions.” The next years Global Risks Report emphasized the need to develop resiliency, the capacity to adapt quickly, in all nations and local communities.

The idea of developing a new type of economic resiliency in our communities and society is at the core of preparing for a different kind of economy that will need to adapt to constantly changing conditions. To add to the complexity over the next twenty years is the fact that there are three different types of economies that are in churn and mixed together for the first time in the history of the world. The first is the very last stages of an Industrial Age Economy based on hierarchies, economies of scale, mechanization, and predictability. The second is a transitional economic phase known as the Knowledge Economy which started around 2000 and is based on knowledge creation and diffusion. The third is the emerging Creative Molecular Economy (CME) in which biological principles will form the framework for how the CME will be organized and operate.

As with any emerging system, there is, at present, no firm definition and no concrete set of factors for the CME since the concepts and structures are in the process of forming. With this in mind, we offer the following working definition:

“An economy based on the integration of emerging
technologies, with creative individuals, small groups and
companies organized in interlocking networks, connecting and
disconnecting constantly in processes of continuous
innovation and transformation.”

The working definition is meant to be a starting point for dialogue about how to collaborate to build capacities for transformation in local areas. Networks of economic developers, planners, policymakers, entrepreneurs, workers, and as many interested citizens as possible are needed who believe it is necessary to seed new ideas and new knowledge about a Creative Molecular Economy.

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