The second regional workshop took us to the 42.00 inhabitant town Oranienburg about half an hour north of Berlin. Our goal was to test how relevant our previous findings would be for those in local business or culture administrations in the districts of Brandenburg. Together with Katja Dietrich-Kröck, the creative industries coordinator in Brandenburg, we invited about 20 people who already were active in this field.
The meeting place seemed like a symbol for future creative industries development in Brandenburg: we met at Oranienwerk, an ensemble of buildings that had been used as a mill until 1989. The different parts of the building structure shall be developed into a location for cultural and creative industries. The building application has been handed in, they are just waiting to kick off.
In the course of the workshop we presented some of our findings from our trip to Skåne and Copenhagen. Although to some of the participants the examples seemed to be a bit “too urban”, some topics emerged as being relevant in Brandenburg as well:
1. Infrastructure/Work Space: while some argued that coworking was indeed only a topic for the more urban structures in Brandenburg like Potsdam, others stressed that due to the increasing lack of low priced space in Berlin, alternatives in smaller cities that still could easily be reached by public transport opened up scope for action in Brandenburg. Allowing for experiments and not being distracted by manifold events and activities in the capital could indeed be a field of action for Brandenburg in supporting creative industries.
2. Mapping and Visibility: a huge deficit is that creative entrepreneurs and companies hence are not visible enough to decision makers. While oftentimes “facts, facts and only facts” count, the value of creative industries for local and regional development is still not well-known. The participants of our workshop discussed that it would be beneficial to have a template for quantitative and qualitative measurement that could easily be adopted by towns or districts.
3. Consulting and Coaching: While a systematic account of the existing consulting and coaching structure is lacking, our participants uttered doubts whether the existing structures really served the special needs of creative industries entrepreneurs. Wolfgang Flieger, project manager at our cooperation partner IBF (Institute for occupational area research and corporate planning in the media sector) gave our participants valuable insights into his experience with creative entrepreneurs within the “Innovations need Courage” program. While there are manifold institutions and consultancies in charge of consulting entrepreneurs in the stage of the formation of their business, coaching in an earlier as well as in a later phase is lacking. The IBF thus invented an early stage consulting approach when there is not yet a business plan that could be discussed. This kind of consulting seems to be especially relevant for CCI entrepreneurs, in Brandenburg typically coming from cultural projects backgrounds
4. Networking seems to be an everlasting demand when it comes to creative industries support. In Brandenburg, there have already been attempts to address this demand, e.g. for the design sector with the “Design Days Brandenburg“. Networking towards other industries, among CCI entrepreneurs of different disciplines and also on the administrative level is still underveloped.
From our point of view, our findings about CCI instruments in Skåne and Copenhagen triggered a discussion and an exchange of ideas in the region and helped identifying need and gaps in CCI support. The workshop served as a starting point for a more regular exchange. Moreover, C2C and its cooperation partner IBF can accompany some of the initiatives arising from the workshop during the next months, giving advice and providing tailored consulting.