Rise of the creative economy

Creative Economy



Rise of the creative economy

Ruthravaty T
February 9, 2023

Ruthravaty T

Ruthra is a writer, vegan, and environmental advocate. Despite coming from the Science stream, frog dissection or chemistry set never really excited her. She strongly believes that a pen is mightier than a Bunsen burner, and that her true passion has always been about writing.

September 18, 2023

Since its establishment in 1991, almost every Malaysian school student, especially millennials, has participated in the Vision 2020 drawing competitions. Back then, everyone envisioned skyscrapers, bullet trains, robots serving in restaurants, and cars flying across the Malaysian sky. 

Creativity is limitless. Everything human-made was visualized in the human mind before they were developed and came into existence, whether it's small-scale scientific research or a million-dollar business model. The world is always in need of game-changing creative ideas.

The creative economy's definition is constantly evolving, ever since it was popularized by John Howkins in 2001. The overall concept is associated with products and services, with creativity as an added value - comprehending culture, art, and innovation. The idea of combining creativity with the economy is much like icing on the cake; it only gets better. 

The creative economy can lead to changes in businesses, serving as strong support to generate revenue, contributing to economic developments in the country. 

Here are four enterprises that are actively investing in the creative economy. 

1. Think City 

Preserving and reconstructing the cultural heritage of a city through developments of creative strategy is made possible. A huge thanks is owed to Think City, a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, for restoring the authenticity of Malaysian cities via their innovative projects. 

Ever since George Town, Penang was listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2008; the city needed conservation for its unique heritage. The following year, Think City was established to introduce the  George Town Grants Programme (GTGP), to protect the city's heritage through grants.

The Penang Story, an open platform project by Think City, for those who are interested in Penang to contribute towards “deepening” the story. Photo from Think City.

Today, Think City has disbursed 343 grants to building owners across Malaysia to aid their restoration work. Plus, they have successfully completed over 726 projects on record by working closely with governmental organizations, private sectors, and universities. 

2. MaGIC

The Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) is the source of creativity and innovation for entrepreneurs, putting Malaysia as the startup capital of Asia. One of their main objectives is to set up a high economy and social impact by developing a creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial culture.

As an agency under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), MaGIC aims to empower startups in the technology sector as well as social innovators, building a sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem in Malaysia through creativity. Since its birth in 2014, numerous startups and investors have benefited from MaGIC through its building programs and marketing opportunities. They impacted over 100,000 entrepreneurs with an overall value creation of RM1.9 billion.

The Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) is the source of creativity and innovation for entrepreneurs. Photo from MaGIC.

3. Fab Space KL

"Fabrication and fabulous" - that is what Fab Space KL is known for. The lab concept is based on FabLab, which was introduced in Tokyo in 2010, known for working towards providing futuristic experiences.  

This innovation lab is dedicated to anyone who is passionate about technology, education, and digital transformation. 

Various machines, including laser cutters, 3D printers, sewing machines, UV printers and so on are available for their visitors - mainly innovators, business owners, creative talents, students, and even families. Like-minded groups can gather to brainstorm on innovative ideas and solutions. 

The Fab Space KL innovation lab is dedicated to anyone who is passionate about technology, education and digital transformation. Photo from Fab Space KL.

4. KakiDIY

Dedicated to DIY enthusiasts, makers, and entrepreneurs to share, collaborate and provide services to others, KakiDIY is a makerspace that focuses on the overall ecosystem, online platform, maker community, entrepreneurship, education, social enterprise, diversity, and sustainability. 

KakiDIY provides training sessions, workshops, and often works with talents in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM). Besides that, they also work together with other communities to maximize social impact, share ideas, inspire and create more innovators. 

Also, KakiDIY practices 3R (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) as part of their ecosystem pillar. For example, the participants can learn how to repair their broken electronic devices instead of discarding them. 

KakiDIY works together with communities to maximize social impact, share ideas, inspire and create more innovators. Photo from KakiDIY.

In the 21st century, competition has been rising as a result of substantial access to new technologies. Hence, the growth of a business under any industry is heavily dependent on its creative strategy and innovation efforts. Many countries around the globe are acknowledging the importance of creativity as a tool to stand out amongst their competitors. 

All things considered, the creative economy is a vital factor of the industrial evolution and community empowerment. Together, the members of social, economic, environmental, and cultural communities are able to produce goods and services that generate revenue alongside booming industries.

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