For our last day in Malmö we had managed to schedule an appointment with the very busy ladies Jane Nilsson (Culture and Business Developer) and Camilla Rydahl (Responsible for relations with R & D, and the academic sector) from the Region Skåne in their new building in the Western harbour district of Malmö.
The challenges of intercultural communication: new missions – new names
Inside the Region Skåne-huset
Creative Capital Conference!
The region’s engagement with culture and creative industries goes back to an initiative by the federal government that focused on the establishment of cooperations between the culture and business department. By then, some municipalities like Malmö had already developed programs to promote culture and creative industries.
Today, the region promotes six pilot projects, amongst others in the municipalities of Helsingborg (the Incubator THINK) and Lund (“Creative Plot”). Moreover, the region is going to publish a creative industries strategy on Dec 8, 2012. It will build upon suggestions for strategy development for this sector by the European Union.
Regional and Crossborder Cooperation
The region of Skåne is member of Generator Sverige, a non-profit association devoted to developing and promoting the cultural and creative industries in Sweden. At this level, the region Skåne cooperates with the other Swedish regions in the field of CCI. In general, being part of the larger Öresund region is seen as a central aspect of the region’s future development.
Skåne seeks to become the most innovative region in Europe in 2020. The region has published several strategies describing the way to achieve this goal. A central aspect of this strategy is to turn away from cluster policy towards the development of open innovation arenas, serving as a meeting place for players from different backgrounds with different types of knowledge as described in the strategy “Developing new innovative areas and creative environments”.
Our fourth day was loaded with three interviews, the first starting at 9 a.m. forcing us to get up early. With eyes still half-closed but with alert minds and our notebooks – both anaolgue and digital – packed with questions, we set out for meeting Robert Karlsson project manager of Kulturkraft Syd, a project that offers competence development to professionals and organizations within the area of performing arts, music, film, television, radio and interactive media. The program was launched in 2010 in Malmö and is half financed by the Swedish government (ministry of labour) and half by the European Social Fund. Its efforts are aimed at all professionals and organizations within the named branches, no matter if they have a permanent employment at one of the institutions, work for a company or as freelance artists.More
After our one-day extra-curricular breakout to Copenhagen, we were back in our homebase Malmö, where we started the day with a late second breakfast in a sweet little coffee shop just around the corner from our hotel, where the smell of cinammon and freshly grinded coffee made us feel like in coffee shop heaven. Here we met with Annette Brejner from the Financing Forum for Kids Content. More
After arriving in Malmö, we had some time to acclimate ourselves as our first scheduled meeting had to be postponed due to the typical November flue wave. Fresh and well-prepared we then later set off to the already familiar Western harbour district to meet with Louise Månsson, project manager of Soft Landing Sweden, a business relocation support concept that is already established in the UK (London), USA, Mexico and Korea but is, up to today, the only one-stop-agency of its kind in Sweden. Its target group are (mostly) international and national media companies companies with an interest in Skåne as their business location. It started in 2011 out of the realization that the existing support system for such businesses was not sufficient, suceeding at attracting companies and creating and interest but not helping with the day-to-day business challenges in a foreign market environment … More
Only two weeks after the very successful pre-test (which had proved to be much more than just a test) we packed our bags to fly back to Sweden for the „real thing“ – the first real interviews. In the meantime we had used our insights from the pre-test to re-work our interview guidelines and scheduled an ambitious timetable with nine meetings.
On the first day we met Louise Månsson from Soft Landing Sweden in Malmö, then crossed the Öresund Bridge to Denmark, where we met with Daniel Hjorth, professor at CBS – Copenhagen Business School, who is doing the evaluation of the Creative Plot incubator in Lund, before dropping in at our Danish project partners’ Jakob and Robert from Refleks, who tried to help us get an overview of the Danish situation, we needed for our next research trip to Copenhagen two weeks later.
Refleks in Copenhagen – supergeil!
Back in Sweden, we met with Annette Brejner from the Film Financing Forum for kids’ content, with Sofie Karlsborn from THINK in Helsingborg, Robert Karlsson from Kulturkraft Syd, Karin Johansson-Mex from MEDEA, the Malmö Högskola’s innovation lab, with Emma Estborn, portfolio manager at Media Evolution, the cluster organisation for the Moving Media and on our last day with Jane Nilsson and Kamilla Rydahl from the Region Skåne in their fancy new building out in the Western Harbour district. Again, we would very much like to thank you all for your time, the insights shared and the inspiration you gave us!
Read more about the interviewed projects and the results in the upcoming posts!
Our first 3-day-stay in Sweden was organized around the ambitious plan to meet our Swedish project partners from Tillväxtverket in Stockholm (thanks also to Klas Rabe and Nikola Leijon!) and then to fly south to the Skåne region to conduct four interviews in two days and in three different cities.
In the end we managed to even squeeze in a fifth interview and a really delicious fish dish in Helsingborg, and flew back home with a buzzing head full of new insights and impressions, new ideas and many new tracks to pursue. Somehow the best really is what happens off the track …
Minc was founded in 2003 and is situated in close vicinity to the Malmö högskola’s library, Svenska TV and Media Evolution City at the entrance
to the Western harbour district, Malmö’s new vibrant media hub. The incubator exists for ambitious entrepreneurs with knowledge-intensive business ideas with scope for innovation and high growth potential and aims at changing the Malmö region into an attractive knowledge-based region.
Minc’s vision is to become the leading innovation environment and an attractive meeting place for entrepreneurs, industry and commerce, and researchers. Minc should be the given centre in the region for the development of entrepreneur-run companies within the areas of ICT, media, design and industry, as well as a service concept with high levels of knowledge content.
In 2012 Minc was voted amongst the 6 best incubators in Sweden by a jury within the government. We are not surprised that they were!
The Creative Plot is an incubator for the creative industries in and around Lund, the famous university town in the region Skåne. It has only been established in last November 2011 and has since developed a close collaboration with Ideon sciencepark, where it is located. As a joint initiative of the business department and the culture and leisure department of the city of Lund, the project is designed as a 20 months pilot. This pilot scheme has started in 2012 and will end in June 2013. Just in time to be properly evaluated within the scope of our research, too
However, The Creative Plot is in a comfortable situation as the municipality has already decided to continue the incubator after this period.
In its pilot phase the project is about finding out which differences there really are between creative and other entrepreneurs/companies and which the specific needs are in the sector. It’s mission is twofold: the promotion of companies on the one hand, change the way of the promotion of the sector on the other hand.
The target group are creative entrepreneurs with at least 10 years of professional experience. We are curious to see what differences they will find and how they are going to specifically target those.
The Nordic Game Program has its office in the Media Evolution City next door to Svensk TV in the Western Harbour District of Malmö. It was initiated in 2006 by the Scandinavian ministers of culture and goes back to the insight that all Nordic countries, though being net exporters of games, were for a long time underrepresented in the local markets. To change that, the program addresses the prime concerns of the industry: market access, finance and access to skilled labour.
Consequentially, the goals of the Nordic Game Program are
internationalization (making it easier for Nordic Games developers to sell games internationally)
recruiting skilled labour
ensuring quality in Nordic computer games for children and young people (<18 years)
BoostHbg is a 3-year initiative founded in 2009 and based in the old harbor city of Helsingborg, north of Malmö, that nurtures exceptional emerging talent within the moving image industry in Skåne. As Brandenburg has a strong focus on media as well, we were especially interested in learning more about the Cross Media Talent program, a pioneering program that aims to develop new storytelling techniques in close cooperation with the various branches, industry professionals and rising trends.
It is rooted in the observation that filmmakers usually have much more material than they can use for their (documentary) film(s). They are challenged by the question which other media they can use to make this material accessible to a broader audience and/or to stakeholders who can build ongoing work from this material.
The program is targeted at people, usually with a background in film production – either employees or freelancers with professional experience – who apply at Cross Media Talent to receive a grant to develop a prototype.
Back in Malmö, we had some unexpected free time left before heading back to the airport and home to Germany. We remembered how our Swedish project partner from Tillväxtverket in Stockholm and later also Finnur Sverisson from Minc had told us about stpln, a place we apparently had to absolutely check out. As the weather was good and our mood as well (thanks to all the nice people and great interviews we had already conducted), we decided that this was our chance to discover something off the track and headed to the Western Harbor District, once again.
At first, we didn’t find what we were looking for and wandered around in the what we thought were industrial ruins. And then, we finally found it: stpln. An old stocks ground that was previously used for launching ships to the sea and which is now a skatepark – overground – and an open culture center – underground – with a coworking space, a bike workshop, a fab lab and much more, that attracts the young and creative scene of Malmö.
Oyuki Matsumoto, one of the project leaders, was so friendly as to give us a spontaneous guided tour and patiently answered to all our questions. What stroke us most was the participatory approach that gives all users open access and responsibility through ownership in return.
Nothing is as reassuring – or mind-sobering – as a reality-check. This is what we experienced during a first 3-day-stay in Sweden when we conducted a pre-test to validate our interview guidelines. We met the first of hopefully many exciting programs that have developed innovative approaches to support the creative industries in the region. We are grateful to our interview partners from Minc, The creative plot, The Nordic Game Program, Boost Hbg and stpln for their openness and the interesting insights they were willing to share with us:
Tack så mycket till Finnur Sverisson, Debora Voges, Eric Robertson, Anna Ljungmark och Oyuki Matsumoto!
(For more information about our interview partners, please check out the soon to be published articles).
Here are our findings in a nutshell:
The most „avantgarde“ instruments have overcome the distinction between creative industries and other sectors of the economy. They think in terms of content. The future is in the in-between and the cross-sectoral.
Malmö has developed different contact points depending on the „maturity“ of ideas (STPLN – MINC – Selfmade).
There is a tendency away from tailoring programs to certain groups. Instead, the content counts. Who wants to pionieer has to overcome sectoral thinking, no matter if within or beyond creative industries. More