Richard, I have tried to focus on more specific phrases like “bohemian self-expression” and “ethnic diversity” because they have more specific connotations. Unmodified, words like “expression,” “diversity,” “open,” and “creative” have so many associations that it is not clear that they refer to anything useful. You mention a person bored in her job, wanting more “creativity,” which you paraphrased to mean “more exciting, more fun and challenging,” and you infer she should live in an area containing street mimes, gay bars, and musicians, because they are also called “creative,” and I guess you consider them fun and exciting.
Correct me if I’m wrong, Ed, but aversion to such ambiguity induced sloppiness is probably what Ed had in mind when he proposed “Every time that Richard writes the word ‘creative’ he has to buy a round of drinks.”
The places you call “diverse” are not diverse along all dimensions (consider political ideology), all people “express” themselves, even if they choose to look and act like some other people, and the fact that hackers prefer long hair, casual clothes, and late hours does not make them more open-minded—they have a different culture, but a culture with limits and expectations that are as strong and clear as most other cultures’.
I agree that organizations can do more to encourage innovation, and that Teresa Amabile has some useful things to say about that. What I object to is your lumping all that under the broad label “creative,” together with every other association of that word, to conclude that one side in today’s culture wars is the main source of economic growth.