In these tight economic times, budgets supporting innovation and product development are under pressure. So, one way we help companies with projects like concept development and new product evaluation is finding “prosumers,” highly engaged and creative consumers. These articulate and self-aware people are able to work with new concepts and contribute to a vibrant discussion of ideas.While these prosumers are often young and educated, they can be found in every age group and social strata. So how can we find them? Our solution is to focus on certain cities that have a high likelihood of attracting these types of people. In our experience, the common points among these cities are:
- A varied population with a mix of age groups and cultural and economic diversity
- Highly educated population, often with a major university
- Destination city that is faring comparatively well in this difficult economy, a place where people want to live
- A growing entrepreneurial class signaling that there are innovative, quick-thinking people
- A demonstrated commitment to the arts and an active lifestyle
Creative hubs are often emerging cities, not necessarily the biggest cities in the country. For creative work, we like to consider Austin, Denver, Portland and Raleigh-Durham. Bigger cities include San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Baltimore.
Richard Florida’s Creativity Index lists three Texas cities in the top ten, Austin, Houston and Dallas. One reason that On Your Mark moved to Austin almost 15 years ago was because it met all of the requirements above. Austin is a leading creative city in the US and a great city to do qualitative research (plus we always enjoy doing work in our backyard!). Is your city a creative city that we should consider for this type of research? Tell us why and what you enjoy most about living there.