The Creative Bureaucracy is an idea in development. The book ‘The Creative Bureaucracy and its radical common sense’ was published by Charles Landry and myself in 2017. It has inspired a range of festivals and events including the annual Creative Bureaucracy Festival in Berlin.

At its heart it connects three strands of thinking. These are:

  • All bureaucracies have trapped talent, people that have much more to offer given the right conditions.  But systems, rules, expectations and cultures make it difficult for individuals to do so. What conditions will support people to bring much more to their work in the bureaucracy?
  • The grand interconnecting challenges of our era demand different ways of thinking, working, action. We need to go beyond perennial conversations around silos and cross-departmental working to get to the deeper questions. How can governments mobilise the inventiveness, intelligence and agility they need?
  • The culture of government is expressed in the fabric and  the atmosphere of a city.  This shows how well government bureaucrats have negotiated decisions and choices around streets, buildings, services,  connections, the quality of the environment, the ambition, what gets attention and what doesn’t.

In the Creative Bureaucracy we argue that people will bring their full selves to work if systems feel human and warm. Atmospheres matter.  The ‘spillover’ effect of a creative bureaucracy will make a city more resilient and optimistic. A city that encourages rather than discourages will be more successful.




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