Barcamp review: Fishing for talents

Barcamp review: Fishing for talents

One truly innovative approach to the creative industries support we found during our research was the idea to actively go “fishing for talents” instead of waiting for them to come by and ask for support during set office hours in a typical business center environment.

One good example is the incubator “The creative plot” in Lund, Sweden, which is working closely with the city’s cultural department and attentively checks all applications for cultural funding whether they also contain real business potential. Upon finding a promising candidate, these are approached with the suggestion of turning their project into a real business instead of applying for public funding.
Another approach was an idea brought forward by the Copenhagen Creative Task force, who planned to open mobile consulting containers for creative talents and artists across town in the areas where these people live and work.

Consequently, this interesting approach had its place on our list of the barcamp’s workshop topics and one workshop hosted by Dirk Kiefer, centered around the question of “should we scout talents or should we wait for them?”

Fishing for talents

© by Marie Jacobi (www.visualrecording.de)

From the public sector’s point of view there have to be pre-structural approaches (= reaching out to talents before they make their way to the official consulting entities) to find talents as well as approaches to keep these talents. In order to help smaller start-ups and entrepreneurs there should be less rules and regulations keeping the talents at a distance. One way of rephrasing the session’s question could be by changing it from “fishing” for talents to stop blocking them.

In smaller groups, the participants worked on the questions: How to find talented people and incentivize them to start their own business?

But where are the talented people, how and where can they be found?
Talents can be resistant and hard to find. As one participant stated: “Without resistance it would not be talent“.
One assumption was that many talented people probably have “proper jobs”, because these offer security and the possibility to gain professional experience (as a precondition for starting an own company). Good “tools” to detect them are networking events. 

Other possible places are internet forums and communities like dribbble, github, reddit or kickstarter. But one can also find people offline and in person at co-working spaces, startup weekends, bootcamps or pre-incubators.
The most important task is the recognition of talents, especially „hidden“ talents, as those are usually the ones who need most help.
Traditional arts education often only focusses on raising a few stars while the rest are mostly neglected as “failures”. These are the ones who should be taken care of. The career service of the University of Fine Arts Berlin explicitely helps the “secondary talents” (see below)

How to incentivize them to start their own businesses?
The main task for “keepin the talents” is to develop support which becomes effective after the talents have been found. This support can have many shapes: tutoring, coaching, consulting, mentoring. From the public sector’s point of view, (e.g. university) students should have the possibility to talk about their ideas and to receive professional feedback by a coach or mentor. Companies should set up an innovative management in order to attract and keep talents, e.g. not focus (too much) on degrees. The real question might be “what needs to be changed in society to attract and keep talents?”

Summary
All in all, the workshop group came to the conclusion that

  • talents need to be found, attracted and kept,
  • there are several pools where to find talents (physically and virtually)
  • the focus should be on the „hidden“, “secondary talents” because they are the ones who need help,
  • there should be more help in terms of coaching, tutoring, consulting,
  • in order to provide the most effective support there should be a change of management in companies (e.g. over thinking working rules, barriers) and universities (e.g. not only supporting the stars but also the “secondary talents”), but probably in society in general.

Further links:
University of the Arts, Berlin (UdK) Career center: http://www.udk-berlin.de/sites/digimedial/content/index_ger.html
Creative plot, Lund: http://thecreativeplot.se/en/
Copenhagen creative task force: http://www.cities-creativity.org/wordpress/2012/09/copenhagen-creative-task-force/

Barcamp review: Interdisciplinary working groups

Barcamp review: Interdisciplinary working groups

As it is often said that creative companies regularly face the problem of not having access to some of the necessary skills for running a company (such as for example marketing, accounting etc.), one question that we stumbled upon during the research was the question on how to integrate all these skills within the  group of  founders. We wondered if this problem could already be addressed by the universities during the studies.

Dr. Oliver Mauroner from the Bauhaus University in Weimar volunteered to work on the questions “Are interdisciplinary working groups during studies an important pre-condition for the starting of a company (within the creative industries)?” Together with his workshop group of dedicated experts, he developed a list of further questions, such as:

  • Should we promote interdisciplinary teams?
  • How can we add missing competences (marketing, design etc.) to the team: by teaching the team or by bringing in other people (experts)?
  • How should/could we promote interdisciplinary teams (formats, programs)?
  • What is needed (Competences, personalities, experiences)?
  • What are the “places” to meet?
Workshop situation

Workshop situation

Within the workshop, the questions were mostly addressed at the support system bodies (university, support programs etc.) as those who should take action.

Interestingly, the group agreed that the customers needs define which competences should be included in the entrepreneurial team/company. This opens up the scope to a very user-driven approach: work with the customer not for him/her and make the customer believe it was his/her idea.

The participants agreed that there should be support for interdisciplinary teams in the creative sector but that there is not just one way/model how to do that. Possible models mentioned include:

  • support within the university AND AFTER
  • individual coaching to help the team embers close their individual gaps
  • bring in external experts to close the skills gaps within the team

How to meet the right people?
The identified problems in the university context are:

  • strong separation of disciplines
  • widespread fear of idea fraud
  • missing knowledge about ongoing research activities
  • poor networking culture

These are problems that should and can be addressed within the universities themselves.

How can / will companies be structured in the future?
Instead of looking at a company as a big construct one should open up to form groups of small companies with different competences. Participant Claudiu Danaila gave an example of his own working situation (http://brainstormcm.dk) where different small companies with many competences co-work on projects. This is more based on the customer’s point of view („work with them not for them“). After the project, the group falls apart and the small companies form new groups to work on new projects.

What are the preconditions for promoting interdisciplinary groups/teams:
According to the participants, the most important preconditions are openness, trust and confidence in the success of the idea.
Openness means to be open to the customer’s needs but also to listen, first to yourself then to others and then being able to making the people listen to you. As one useful approach coaching is suggested.

Concrete ideas for action:

  • networking events organized by universities and support programs, where young or aspiring entrepreneurs can meet with other companies, future mentors and possible investors. One interesting event is arranged by the plug ‘n play incubator (Silicon Valley) http://plugandplaytechcenter.com/
  • Crowdfunding as an open support system; it is a very good way to evaluate your idea and to test the market
  • Lean start-up: fast feedback and iterative product releases in order to shorten the product development cycles
  • the setting up of contamination labs for students from all disciplines with tutors, investors, incubators so they can work on their ideas, form groups at startup weekends, barcamps etc. (this idea comes from Denise Di Dio, Incubator Milano Speed Mi Up, http://www.speedmiup.it)
  • on an individual level: go to conferences, network, look out!

The group then agreed on a rephrasing of the question: From „How should/could we promote interdisciplinary working groups“ to „What culture/value should be supported“. This implies that the whole cooperation culture needs to be reworked towards more open approaches from both universities and students, but also from customers and clients, as well as from investors, business associations and so forth.

Further links:

Bauhaus University Weimar, Prototypen-Seminar

Brainstorm Crossmedia, Denmark

Plug and play tech center, Silicon Valley

Incubator Milano Speed Mi Up, Milan, Italy

Another example from Germany: Grüne Werkstatt Wendland and their Designcamp

 

© by Marie Jacobi (www.visualrecording.de)

© by Marie Jacobi (www.visualrecording.de)

 

Creative collaboration in Brandenburg! A review of the C2C Barcamp

Creative collaboration in Brandenburg! A review of the C2C Barcamp

What happens if you put a group of experts on creative industries from five different countries and a variety of professional backgrounds together for a whole weekend? Add some post-its, a lot of coffee, a dash of sunshine and spoons full of open-mindedness … and you’ll get: creative collaboration!
This is what we experienced during the two intense days of the C2C-Barcamp last weekend in Brandenburg/Havel.
“How does a smart financial ecosystem for creative industries look like? How do we pave the way to a creative economy? What are the features of strong networks? What are smart approaches for cross sector collaborations? What is radical innovation? …” 
 were only some of the many questions we discussed  with our partners and other experts from Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Estonia and Germany. Their dedication and open contribution helped us gain important insights and we would like to thank them all!
The complete official
More detailed results of the 15 different workshop sessions will be published here in the following days. For now, we let the pictures speak for themselves …
A warm welcomeAny idea?Good morning! So, who are you?Morning pitching sessionMorning pitching sessionWorking on the schedule ...The pitched topicsThe schedule!Robert Karlsson and Gerda Hempel hosting a workshop sessionSome first results ...© by Marie Jacobi (www.visualrecording.de)© by Marie Jacobi (www.visualrecording.de)© by Marie Jacobi (www.visualrecording.de)