The Media Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a hotbed of creativity and innovation. Barry Vercoe, a founding member and speaking on National Radio this week, is convinced that what he describes as “the clash between disciplines” results in innovation. Researchers and students from many different disciplines are brought together in an atmosphere of liberation. Sponsors are free to observe work and commercialise any of the results on the basis of a royalty-free non-exclusive licence. With ready finance and interchange of ideas, researchers don’t have to spend time on paperwork.

Creativity flourishes where societies have the combination of talent, technology and tolerance. Creativity is important because it is the driving force of innovation, which in turn drives economic growth. Talent defines the creative class, which encompasses scientists, engineers, artists, musicians, architects, managers, professionals and others whose jobs deal with creative or conceptual tasks. Creatives outnumber blue-collar workers in all advanced western economies.

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