Essay: What is an Open Creative Community?

Three weeks ago, I coined a new term in my attempt to understand and communicate some of the ideas under the surface of Toronto Transit Camp. I referred to Transit Camp and BarCamp as open creative communities. It was a vague notion founded on my intuitions about what I have been observing in places as diverse and apparently disconnected as BarCamp to CaseCamp to NewMindSpace to Burning Man.

So what do marketers and tech geeks have in common with half-naked neo-tribal bohemians in the desert?

Alive, originally uploaded by Thomas Hawk.

These are communities of interest, practice, proximity and values.

These communities live in a hybrid virtual- and place-based geography. They are hyper-creative and produce some phenomenal artifacts of human ingenuity and culture. They are open, in that the barrier to entry is not a membership fee or a geographic line in the sand or a common ethnicity. The barrier to entry is creative citizenship, and you are either a citizen and a participant or you are not, based on your individual relationship to that community’s interests, practices, proximity and values.

They are communities with both global and local dimensions. And they are self-organizing at an increasingly rapid rate, in the most unexpected places. (more after the jump)

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1st Annual Best of Remarkk!

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I toil away in what is at times a lonely wonkosphere. At the end of my first year as a blogger (ok, 10 months, with an extended absence in July and August), I reflect on what I wrote.

Was I full of crap or did I come up with one or two remarkable ideas, something worthy of notice?

What follows is a list of what I feel are my most significant posts, either for content, style or the quality of the conversations they triggered.


  • I doubt I’m going to be nominated for a blog award anytime soon
  • I like to pose a lot of questions and clearly don’t have all the answers
  • Finding one’s voice as a writer and as a blog persona takes time
  • I feel like I’m on a roll, but just getting warmed up

Upon reflection, these posts still resonate for me, in chronological order:

  1. [mesh]: The Economics of Ideas
  2. VC 2.0 & Social Microfinance
  3. Ontario Budget: Cities, Creativity & Innovation
  4. A Creative Renaissance?
  5. ICT Toronto: Getting It Yet?
  6. Future-Proofing Our Communities
  7. Gender Bias in Nerdville…er…DemoCamp?
  8. Open Source Innovation Models
  9. A Social Mission for a Blogging Consultant?
  10. Richard Florida on Public Intellectuals

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