His advice is exactly what bureaucratic wonks like to hear, things like "The quality and range of schools is certainly critical for parents of school-age children." Amen. Basically, he argues we should create neighborhoods of loft apartments, good schools (how?), and a tolerance for diversity—catnip for bohemians—and growth will occur. It plays to the naive view of artsy creativity that sells itself. No wonder he reportedly gets $35k per lecture.
Robin throws some well-needed cold water on this line of thinking:
To succeed in academia, my graduate students and I had to learn to be less creative than we were initially inclined to be. Critics complain that schools squelch creativity, but most people are inclined to be more creative on the job than would be truly productive. So schooling is mostly about selecting the smarter and more diligent, and learning to show up day after day to somewhat boring jobs with ambiguous instructions.
What society needs is not more creativity or suggestions for change but better ways to encourage people to focus on important issues, identify the most promising ideas, and tell the right people about them. But our deification of creativity gets in the way.
In truth, we don't need more suggestion boxes or more street mimes to fill people with a spirit of creativity. We instead need to better manage the flood of ideas we already have and to reward managers for actually executing them.
But, what can a public sector middle manager do with that? Ignore.