Imagining America Presentation


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Tom Tresser gave this presentation at the 2007 Imagining America Conference at Syracuse University.

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Imagining America Presentation

  1. 1. If You’re At This Conference – RUN FOR LOCAL OFFICE! Tom Tresser September 8, 2007
  2. 2. If you would like a copy of this presentation, please email me at
  4. 4. Current Projects The Moose Jaw Expedition 2007
  5. 5. The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) was formed in 1945 by atomic scientists from the Manhattan Project who felt that scientists, engineers and other innovators had an ethical obligation to bring their knowledge and experience to bear on critical national decisions, especially pertaining to the technology they unleashed - the Atomic Bomb. Endorsed by 68 Nobel Laureates in chemistry, economics, medicine and physics, FAS addresses a broad spectrum of issues in carrying out its mission to promote humanitarian uses of science and technology. Ivan Oelrich, Ph.D., Vice President for Strategic Security programs at the Federation of American Scientists. Jerome McDonnell Host, Worldview, WBEZ-FM Chicago
  6. 6. So what can we do to heal, bring sanity and good things to our planet?
  7. 7. <ul><li>LOCAL FOCUS </li></ul><ul><li>DECLARE VALUES </li></ul><ul><li>RUN ON THEM </li></ul>
  9. 9. Creativity & American Heritage Creativity!
  10. 10. December 16, 1773
  11. 11. The Power of words… Thomas Paine – 1737 - 1809
  12. 12. The Power of words… “ We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand, and a race of men, perhaps as numerous as all Europe contains, are to receive their portion of freedom from the event of a few months.”
  13. 13. The invention of America
  14. 14. “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. etc. etc.”
  15. 15. Tom Crafts reads the Declaration aloud in Boston - July 19, 1776
  16. 16. “ The bells rang, the privateers fired the forts and batteries, the cannon were discharged, the platoons followed, and every face appeared joyful…After dinner the King’s Arms were taken down from the State House and every vestige of him from every place in which it appeared, and burnt…Thus ends royal Authority in this State…and all the people shall say Amen.”   Abigail Adams letter to John describing Tom Crafts, a house painter, reading of the Declaration of Independence aloud on July 19, 1776 from small balcony in front of the Massachusetts State House, Boston.
  17. 17. When citizens hear the words “United States of America” read out loud for the first time in the weeks following the signing they all agreed that they now belonged to, came from and owed allegiance to the United States. It was a total fiction and the U.S.A. existed nowhere except in the minds of the Authors and their audience! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!
  18. 18. Creativity is our promise 38,000,000 people in U.S. born abroad
  19. 19. Creativity is our promise Source: UN Dept of Economic and Social Affairs 38,355,000
  20. 20. <ul><li>I.I. Rabi won the 1944 Nobel Physics Prize for his work on the Manhattan Project. </li></ul><ul><li>born in Austria - came to America as infant - father worked making women’s blouses in a sweatshop - Rabi was a brilliant student, became a physicist - leading member of the Manhattan Project On the occasion of the award a journalist asked, What did Rabi think of this great honor? “What do I think? I think that in the old country I would have been a tailor.” </li></ul><ul><li>- David Halberstam, “Defining a Nation – Our America and the Sources of its Strength,” 2003. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Since 1906 283 U.S. citizens have been awarded Nobel Prizes. 71 were foreign-born (including Isidor Rabi). 26% !
  22. 22. The increasing value of creativity
  23. 23. The increasing value of creativity
  24. 25. Value of U.S. Copyright Industries 2005
  25. 27. Creativity Drives U.S. Social + Economic Progress Jane Addams Jonas Salk
  26. 28. Creativity in business
  27. 29.
  28. 30. “Innovate America” – National Innovation Initiative Report, December 2004
  29. 31. <ul><li>REPORT SIGNED BY CEOS OF 11 MAJOR US COMPANIES AND PRESIDENTS OF 8 UNIVERSITIES! </li></ul><ul><li>BellSouth, IBM, American Airlines, Advanced Micro Devices, Ab Initio, Verizon, Amgen, Dana, Morgan Stanley, GM, PepsiCo </li></ul><ul><li>Georgia Institute of Technology, Texas A&M, Columbia University, University of North Carolina, Stanford, Rensselaer, MIT, University of Michigan </li></ul>
  30. 32. PAGE 1: “ RESOLVED -- Innovation will be the single most important factor in determining America’s success through the 21 st century.”
  32. 34. Richard Florida <ul><li>Professor of Business and Creativity at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto </li></ul><ul><li>Author, “The Rise of the Creative Class”, “The Flight of the Creative Class” </li></ul>
  33. 35. Creative Economy Workforce According to Florida <ul><li>Super-Creative Core : </li></ul><ul><li>Computer and mathematical occupations </li></ul><ul><li>Architecture and engineering occupations </li></ul><ul><li>Life, physical, and social science occupations </li></ul><ul><li>Education, training, and library occupations </li></ul><ul><li>Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Creative Professionals : </li></ul><ul><li>Managerial occupations </li></ul><ul><li>Business and financial operations occupations </li></ul><ul><li>Legal operations </li></ul><ul><li>Healthcare practitioners and technical operations </li></ul><ul><li>High-end sales and sales management </li></ul>
  34. 36. Who makes a living from creativity? <ul><li>Creative Class = </li></ul><ul><li>* Super-Creatives, </li></ul><ul><li>15 million workers + </li></ul><ul><li>* Creativity pros, </li></ul><ul><li>23 million workers </li></ul><ul><li>38 million strong 28% U.S. work force </li></ul>“ The Rise of the Creative Class,” Richard Florida
  35. 37. What % of Illinois Workers Toil in the Creative Industries? 30%
  36. 38. Chicago Region Creative Workers Super-Creatives = 467,760 Creative Pros = 834,080 Total = 32% of labor force Source: Metro Chicago Information Center
  37. 39. 28%
  38. 40. MI Creative Class “ Super-Creatives” = 556,520 “ Creative Professionals” = 707,220 TOTAL = 1,263,740 2002 Governor’s race Margin of victory = 126,521
  39. 41. 2002 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY FOR GOVERNOR Jennifer Granholm = 499,129 David Bonior = 292,958 James Blanchard = 254,586 MI Creative Class “ Super-Creatives” = 556,520 “ Creative Professionals” = 727,220 TOTAL = 1,263,740 Margin of victory = 206,171
  40. 42. We need a little diversity…
  41. 43. <ul><li>2004 = 7,382 total State Legislators…. </li></ul><ul><li>Male = 77.5% </li></ul><ul><li>Female = 22.5% </li></ul><ul><li>Average age = 54 </li></ul><ul><li>White = 77% </li></ul><ul><li>Attorneys, business related background = 80% </li></ul><ul><li>Education related background = 7% </li></ul><ul><li>Communication arts/broadcasters = 1.5% </li></ul><ul><li>Artists/Other creative professionals = 0% </li></ul>
  42. 44. Are you ready to lead?
  43. 45. You’re already a leader! Really!
  44. 46. Creative Leadership Inventory <ul><li>List your skills </li></ul><ul><li>List you assets </li></ul><ul><li>List your lists </li></ul>
  45. 47. <ul><li>Artists + creative professionals can offer their : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>creative skills & resourcefulness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>tolerance an ability to be empathetic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ability to build ensembles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ability to challenge old assumptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>passion, compassion & optimism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>champions non-financial measures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>pursuit of truth & authenticity </li></ul></ul>
  46. 48. <ul><ul><li>P </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>O </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>T </li></ul></ul>What do you have? PASSION TO CREATE OUT-OF-THE-BOX THINKING EMPATHY & ENSEMBLE BUILDING TRUTH SEEKERS/TELLERS
  47. 49. <ul><li>ELEVATE creativity as national value and priority </li></ul><ul><li>UNIFY across differences to fashion new voting block </li></ul><ul><li>RECRUIT and support creativity champions in civic arena </li></ul>The Political Opportunity Before Us…
  48. 50. Create. Act. Vote. RUN!
  49. 51. Ben Franklin…model creative citizen <ul><li>Entrepreneur </li></ul><ul><li>Community organizer </li></ul><ul><li>Inventor </li></ul><ul><li>Politician </li></ul><ul><li>Author </li></ul><ul><li>Diplomat </li></ul><ul><li>Philanthropist </li></ul>
  50. 52. John B. Rice built first permanent theater in Chicago in 1847
  51. 53. 19 th Mayor of Chicago! 1865 - 1869 Congressman 1873 - 1874
  52. 54. Guy Padgett, City Councilman, Mayor Casper, Wyoming
  53. 56. Cara Jennings, City Commissioner Lake Worth, Florida
  54. 58. Hell no we won't Hell no we won't Hell no we won't Go there with those tired old chants My activism is more like a rant A rant of rage of resistance This system I speak out against. One, two, three, four Boring protest no more five, six, seven, eight Resistance let's activate No justice Here's a piece of my mind No justice A piece of my behind No justice Piece it together you'll find Radical cheerleaders on the frontline Co-founder
  55. 59. <ul><li>The message : </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity should be a national value & priority </li></ul><ul><li>You’re already leaders </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity needs champions -- We need you in public life NOW! </li></ul>
  56. 60. Committee for the Study of the American Electorate What will motivate them?
  57. 61. Syracuse Mayoral Race Campaign Exercise <ul><li>Pick someone to be candidate </li></ul><ul><li>Count off </li></ul><ul><li>Teams: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 minute stump speech </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creativity message points </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Graphics/Bumper Sticker </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fight song </li></ul></ul>USE REAL RESUME OF THE &quot;CANIDATE&quot;
  58. 62. <ul><li>“ Politics of Creativity” workshops (like today’s session) </li></ul><ul><li>Presentations on “Threats to Creativity 2007” </li></ul><ul><li>Classes and residencies </li></ul><ul><li>Full-day organizer and creative candidate training program </li></ul><ul><li>Public policy and creative advocacy strategic planning </li></ul>312-804-3230 [email_address] Thank you!
  59. 63. If you would like a copy of this presentation, please email me at