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A review of the final conference

A review of the final conference

On march 25th, 2014, around 50 international guests and cultural and creative industries (CCI) experts from Brandenburg, Sweden, Denmark and Italy gathered at the premises of the ministries of the region of Brandenburg in Potsdam for the final conference of the transnational research project Creative Capital Conference (C2C).

The core mission of C2C had been to write a toolkit for the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Women and Family of the region of Brandenburg, containing recommendations for the design of support programmes for the  CCI for the current funding period 2014-2020.
After almost 20 months of intensive research, numerous workshops in Brandenburg and the other European regions, a Barcamp and a Booksprint, the final conference was dedicated to the presentation of ideas for the toolkit, of four selected EU-Good practice cases from the regions, as well as to an outlook into the possible future of CCI support in Europe under the motto “Moving on – improving competence, connections and contexts”.

The afternoon started with a keynote on new perspectives on coaching for the CCI by Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Müller, scientific co-director of the project. His speech was followed by presentations by two of the booksprint authors – Prof. Dr. Carsten Becker and Steinar Valade-Amland – who gave inspirational speeches on the cross-sectoral character of the creative indutries. The conference concluded with a panel discussion with the transnational project partners, which was opened up to a rather interactive discussion, because if there is one thing we have learned from our work, it is that: “If you want to make other people move, you have to move yourself!”

Read on for more detailed recounts of the presentations, which can also be downloaded here as PDF versions:

I. EU-Good Practice

Debora Voges, The creative plot, Lund (SE)

The creative plot is an incubator for creative projects and entrepreneurs in Lund which is situated right within the Ideon Science park, a hub for technology-oriented businesses. It is also a pilot project aiming at answering the question, whether the typical incubation methods also work for creative businesses.

The incubatees benefit from a very intense program comprising infrastructure and work spaces (which are shared with “non-creative” businesses), regular networking events and counseling for professionalization. Another very smart feature of the creative plot is the “backstage”, an offer for all those who do not make it into the incubator (which is limited to 5 businesses) but can this way still stay connected to the network, stay informed, exchange ideas and participate in activities. You can read more about the creative plot in our previous blog post from 2012.

Since then, however, the first pilot round has been completed and the project has been evaluated by Prof. Dr. Daniel Hjorth from the Copenhagen Business School (CBS). The evaluation can be downloaded here.

Debora Voges presented the main findings of the evaluation which have been very appropriately put into the short imperative of “Don’t sit on it!”, meaning that what we need from now on are not more incubators, but ‘excubators’, institutions or frameworks which actually allow the businesses – creative or not – to grow and fly on their own.

The characteristics of such an excubator are:

  • externally oriented processes and resources
  • business model innovation
  • less standardization, more entrepreneurship
  • creates space for innovation
  • dialogic learning culture
  • entrepreneurial team
  • responsive needs of start-ups

For more information, you can download the presentation here.

Dr. Antonio Lampis, Cultural department of the city of Bozen/Bolzano (IT)

Dr. Antonio Lampis and his exceptional marketing campaign for cultural consumption and audience development in the province of Bolzano was one of the most intriguing cases of the C2C research. Thus, we invited him to the final conference, because we think that this strategy could also be applied to creative services and might serve as inspiration for place making and the building of a profile also in Brandenburg, a field discerned as crucial within the transfer toolkit.

In order to increase people’s cultural consumption as well as to include those segments of the population which are traditionally not so interested in culture, the northern Italian province of Bolzano has applied a strategy based on continuous experimentation with non-traditional marketing. This included techniques of paritetic and direct marketing as well as an alliance with the small local shops. Furthermore, there was a strong focus on proposing culture as an alternative activity for people’s typical spare time activities, such as sports and TV. The direct marketing which was modelled after the famous “Avon” ladies knocking on people’s doors proved to be very successfull as more and more of the potential customers became “promoters of culture” themselves. Other activities of non-traditional marketing included cultural flash mobs and theater trailers in the local street markets (watch the video here).

Through the involvement of both the inhabitants of the city as well as the mayors of the surrounding villages, this strategy appealed to a sense of ownership, responsibility and identity and has contributed to a concrete change of lifestyle and different use of leisure time.

For more information, you can download the presentation here.

Pernille Skov, project manager of CAKi, Copenhagen (DK)

CAKi is the Center for applied artistic innovation and the contact point for all art students in Copenhagen in need of counseling, advice or support in whichever way when it comes to starting a project or establishing a business.

Pernille Skov is CAKi’s project manager and we met here during our first research trip to Denmark (read the blog post from 2013). We invited her to speak about her experience as many of the interviews and workshops we carried out during the project showed that an artist’s reputation “in the scene” depends primarily on original and non-commercial work. Based on this observation, it seems sad that self-marketing by artists and creative people or collaboration with business is still seen as slightly dirty. Pernille Skov shares our view that entrepreneurial skills are crucial for artists as well.

CAKi’s focus lies on interdisciplinarity, artistic innovation and entrepreneurship. Their aim is to complement the skills gathered at art schools, help the students in their artistic innovation, increase their professionalization and to expand their employment opportunities. What is important to note is CAKi’s view on artistic innovation which to them creates new societal value and does not necessarily have an economic value.

Pernille Skov gave a short intriduction into the courses CAKi offers. One of the most interesting ones is called “Business behind talent”: it is set up in 3 steps, each of which deals with specific questions:

  1. Reflection: who are you?
  2. Construction: what do you need?
  3. Professionalization: how do you do it?

and in a second step lead to

  1. Action
  2. Context
  3. Self-efficacy

For more information, you can download the presentation here.

Paolo Campagnano, founder and CEO of The ImpactHub Rovereto, Rovereto (IT)

The ImpactHub Rovereto is a network and coworking space and part of the internationally operating network of by now 60 spaces on 5 continents with 7.000 members worldwide. Rovereto, a small town of only roughly 38.000 inhabitants, located in the North of Italy in the region Trentino, is as such, the smallest municipality hosting an ImpactHub in the world.

We invited Paolo Campagnano to tell us about how such an urban concept as coworking can function in a rural and non-metropolitan area.

The ImpactHub Rovereto opened in September 2010 with only 20.000 Euro as starting capital as the first coworking space in Trentino. Today, it counts 70 active members. The team is composed of 7employees, the cooperative composed of 11members.

Paolo Campagnano highlighted the following challenges:

  • financial sustainability
  • the entrepreneurial approach and private initiative which was not widely known in the region → Trentino has not an intense entrepreneurial attitude
  • the coworking model was not known and had to be explained
  • there is a low attitude to mobility from the local population
  • the low population density

After three years, however, the hub is still open and running and has succeeded in becoming an intergral part of the town life. According to Paolo Campagnano, the main learnings have been:

  1. that it is possible to import the coworking/pre-incubation model in not metropolitan areas,
  2. although the simple coworking model is not financially sustainable in not metropolitan areas
  3. → as this type of environment offers good connections between people working in different economical sectors (private, public, school, non profit)
  4. and that it is possible and vital to create a local community strongly connected with a global community.

For more information, you can download the presentation here.

II. Keynote: “PERSPECTIVES FOR THE ROLE OF COACHING IN CREATIVE INDUSTRIES. Structures, targets and methods put to the test”

Under the motto “Improving competence”, Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Müller held an inspiring keynote speech on new perspectives for coaching within the CCI.

One of his main arguments is that the personality of creative founders should be in the focus of all support initiatives and that the persistant insistance on the business plan as a prerequisite for access to support should be abandoned.

You can download the entire keynote here in English and German.

III. Inspirational speeches on CCI as cross-cutting issue, presented under the motto “Improving connections” by two of our booksprint authors:

Prof. Dr. Carsten Becker, Managing partner and research director GIB – Gesellschaft für Innovationsforschung und Beratung, Berlin

Prof. Dr. Becker presented the main insights from his booksprint chapter on “The dual role of CCI: innovator and innovation driver”.

His presentation began with an introduction into the developments in innovation research, followed by an elaboration of the CCI’s role as innovator and innovation driver and closed with a presentation of the challenges and impediments they are faced with today.

For more details, you can download the presentation (in German) here or his booksprint chapter here in English and German.

Steinar Valade-Amland, Consultant, Founder and CEO of Three Point Zero, Denmark

Under the title “Design in a value chain perspective: from anecdotal to systemic”, Steinar Valade-Amland’s chapter of the booksprint showed how design is much more than aesthetics, form and function and how it has become a method pervading every segment of society. This can be seen as either a good development, since design can help improving living conditions and making the world a better place to live in (“Design is the more attractive way of solving problems”), or as a risk, since the DNA of design might get lost on the way. In his chapter as well as in his speech, Steinar Valade-Amland depicted the challenges and opportunities of design, described the development of design since the 1950s up until now and called for a renewal and revitalization of its original virtues. He then elaborated on the major challenges this renewal is faced with, such as structural barriers, and presented opportunities not to be missed.

For more details, you can download the presentation here or his booksprint chapter here in English and German.

We proudly present… the Booksprint!

We proudly present… the Booksprint!

In the course of our research, we came across challenges which creative industries and their support systems are faced with and which can hardly be dealt with within one single project or programme. This assessment, in conjunction with the perception that these kinds of issues need a more innovative approach also from the support and research side, formed the basis for our motivation to initiate a booksprint in September 2013.

Six months later, this experimental adventure has now come to an end. Today it arrived fresh from the printing press: our collaborative publication “Creative Sprint – A collaborative view on challenges and opportunities in the creative sector”!
Many thanks again to our expert authors Carsten Becker, Emma Estborn, Giorgia Boldrini, Steinar Valade-Amland and Carsten Busch (click here for more information on their chapters), as well as Martin Schüngel for his great layout and Marie Jacobi for the illustrations!

 

Booksprint Stapel               Table of content

About the booksprint:

A booksprint is a collaborative writing process in a very limited period of time which culminates in a finished publication. The concept originated in the Open Source movement, as did the format Barcamp, for example.

Booksprints offer a way of harnessing collaboration and communal feedback to develop ideas and visions that a single author working alone probably would not come up with. The result of the co-creation process is, aside from a text that is typically of a high quality, an increase in shared knowledge and sense of community. The process cannot be planned in advance and this spontaneity creates space for “genuine innovation”. The result is that booksprints are more than the sum of their parts.

In its usual form, a booksprint process brings together a group of (usually five) authors together in one place for not longer than one week, during which time they work on their contributions in an iterative manner, alternating writing and giving/receiving feedback on the accomplished work.

In our case, we decided to virtualize the format and had it spread over seven weeks during which we came together twice for a kick-off and for a final meeting. In the meantime, we “met” in weekly Skype meetings.

The process has been immensely interesting and exciting and we have all learnt a great deal about new topics and about working in a group.

CREATIVE SPRINT. A COLLABORATIVE VIEW ON CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN THE CREATIVE SECTOR ” will be publicly released in Malmö on March 7, 2014 in the course of the Conference on Creative Industries in Sweden, hosted by Region Skåne and our project partner Tillväxtverket – the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth.

You can download it here.

The C2C final conference – check out the programme and register!

The C2C final conference – check out the programme and register!

It really is hard to believe, but the project creative capital conference is coming to an end this spring! As you can imagine, we have gathered many many useful and revealing information and now is the time to share them with you.

Our final conference will take place on Tuesday, March 25th in Potsdam from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and we invite everybody who is interested in the future trends of creative industries support to come by and join us for an exciting day, packed with interesting insights.

We will present our project findings and you will have the opportunity to meet experts from Brandenburg and other regions in Germany, but also from Sweden, Denmark and Italy.

Check out the programme flyer for more information on the speakers and if you wish to attend, please remember to register by sending an e-mail to our project manager Noémie Causse (nc@c2conference.org)

 

Creative regions Brandenburg (Kreative Regionen Brandenburg)

It is no secret that the resources and potentials of rural regions in Brandenburg (and elsewhere) differ substantially from those of urban and metropolitan areas: Rural areas are structurally weak and suffer form demographic change and the migration of large parts of their population towards economically more attractive regions.
On the other side, rural areas offer numerous natural resources and regionally rooted companies which allows for completely distinct approaches.
One indispensable precondition for the development of such approaches is a functioning network for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and practices.
As C2C is not only a research project but also aims at testing (and developing) formats, which could be suitable for Brandenburg, we set out – against the previously described backdrop of challenges and potentials – to develop a model for strengthening the regional economy and innovative strength, through connecting local companies and universities, their know-how, resources and technologies within the framework of very hands-on formats for research and development.
As the model served the open source project Grüne Werkstatt Wendland, based in the very rural western-German region called Wendland, mostly famous for the anti-nuclear protest movement (read more in this earlier blogpost or go directly to their website).
Marc Piesbergen, the former project director of this very successfully running project, who had already contributed to the 3rd regional workshops of the project wrote a concept for us, which we discussed in detail with a group of interested people from Brandenburg institutions and projects in an intense workshop at the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam (Fachhochschule Potsdam). Read the full documentation (in German) here.

Marc Piesbergen giving his input

Marc Piesbergen giving his input

At the core of the whole concept lies the so-called local „Projektbörse“, a kind of project pool containing unsolved problems, undeveloped ideas and the like which are fed into the pool by the companies for students from different disciplines (such as e.g. design, engineering, cultural tourism and the like) and different regions to be worked on in close collaboration with the companies.
The connection of the universities and the oftentimes unidentified know-how of the local companies harbors the great potential of being able to refine existing business models and products in an innovative way, to test approaches which have not yet been taken into consideration and to identify focal points, which are content-wise and technologically new.
This attempt shall be pursued beyond the borders of the individual regions of Brandenburg, building a network to which each university and business location can contribute with their own individual knowhow and competencies – the network of the „Creative regions Brandenburg“.
In addition to the “Projektbörse” we also discussed the following formats:
  • interdisciplinary project weeks
  • cross-sectoral innovation camps involving different universities
  • an open and very practical format involving vocational colleges and similar educational institutions
  • a temporary regional display window
  • a creative business competition with jury and prize, e.g. a creative business cup
Workshop situation 1

Workshop situation 1

Workshop situation 2

Workshop situation 2

Our guests discussed each format with regards to their own experience in the field, the resources and contact at their disposal and developed some of the ideas further.
Of special interest were the questions as to which university disciplines to involve and on how to start (involve the whole “Land” or start with a smaller group of one or two pilot regions).
The participants also agreed that the building upon already existing structures and involving already active players in the regions would be key.
They discussed if yet another competition was necessary and how this format could maybe be developed further in order to create something new and unique which stands out against the other existing competitions and really helps the winners. For example it might be useful if the winners would not receive a prize but the support for realizing the idea for which they submitted a concept.

Workshop situation 3

Workshop situation 3

The participants also developed the temporary regional display from something nonmotile to an interactive and mobile format with potential for involving the local population and creating a real buzz in the media and visibility for the whole region.
A working group was not formed out of the meeting, but the individual participants are already discussing next steps. We will try to keep track of the developments ans write about them here …

Wrap-Up Session

Wrap-Up Session

 

Status update: review and outlook

The last months were pretty turbulent for us and we are still working on documenting the different events for you to read about them here on our blog: After the barcamp in early September, we immediately began working on our booksprint, travelled to Copenhagen for CKO‘s and InVio‘s international day of innovation concentrating on cross innovation and contributed with a presentation on C2C’s first findings in this field. We also held the second meeting of our advisory board in Potsdam to discuss the relevance of our research findings and the findings from the barcamp and hosted a workshop for discussing the possibilities of developing a new format for cross innovation, collaboration and knowledge transfer between local companies and universities in Brandenburg.

Next Monday, we will be in Vigevano, Italy, for our third expert round table meeting. This time, the topic is: “Cross Innovation – which potentials lie at the intersection between arts, creativity and business?”. We have invited experts on the field from all involved regions and countries and will discuss the first results from Prof. Giovanni Schiuma’s study on the topic and try to identify further challenges, potentials and possible trends.

Right after this meeting, we will travel further South to Bologna, to meet with our booksprint authors Emma Estborn (Media Evolution, Sweden), Giorgia Boldrini (Business Department, Commune di Bologna, Italy), Steinar Valade-Amland (ThreePointZero, Denmark) and Carsten Busch (Institute for brand communication, Germany) for a whole day of working on finalizing the chapters of the booksprint. The Booksprint is one of the core elements of our project: it is a collaborative way of writing a book. Usually, authors are invited to contribute a chapter from their respective field of specialization to a publication until a certain deadline. With the Booksprint format, we made this process a collaborative one: the authors were not only asked to contribute with their expertise but to also engage in a weekly exchange about their chapters, identify similarities, comment on the chapters of the other authors and thus developing their texts further through this collaborative method.

The chapters of the final publication as the result of the Booksprint will focus on various dimensions of creative industries (support): Emma Estborn focuses on the importance and impact of collaboration. Steinar Valade-Amland analyses design history and puts design in an value chain perspective. Georgia Boldrini from Bologna in Italy describes her experiences how the introduction of business support instruments for cultural and creative entrepreneurs has shaped both the image of the artists as well as the relationship between cultural funding and business support. Gamification and digitization is the topic of Carsten Busch focussing on the broad application fields of games in companies and education. Carsten Becker puts creative industries in the perspective of innovation and describes their role as innovator and innovation driver. Finally, out board chairman Dirk Kiefer reconsiders the right mix of business support instruments for the creative industries.

Finally, on the 7th of November, we will be in Cottbus to contribute to the final conference of the EU project “Urban Creative Poles” with our insights on creative industries support in small and middle-sized cities with examples from Italy and Sweden.

Barcamp review: Arts and innovation connect

This workshop session centered around the question: How can arts and business interact?
Based on his current report, the host Giovanni Schiuma underlined the fact that there is a huge gap between arts and business.

Prof. Giovanni Schiuma

Giovanni Schiuma’s thesis: Sometimes arts and the business sector interact in cooperations or in sponsorships from big companies in the art scene, but this is only a superficial involvement for single projects, while there is hardly ever a strong and sustainable connection.
Art is a business market, a driver and catalyst for culture and creative industries (CI) and a driver for social development. Art might be a potential tool to help businesses to become more profitable – but also more sustainable.
Arts’ principals and the creative process should become part of the DNA of businesses. This is the challenge!

Questions:

  • How can it be realized that arts are recognized for their innovative and driving forces within society and for their market power?
  • Which models for involving artists and creative entrepreneurs in companies have proven successful?
  • What do companies gain from artistic interventions?
  • How can creative principles and powers be integrated in the industries and improve innovation today?

Sandra Zätterström

Sandra Zätterström’s thesis: Sweden has a far-reaching experience in the traditional industries. In comparison, the CCIs are relatively new: today they exist mostly in the form of some small companies, of which a lot are focused on fashion and (digital) communication. The arts and businesses are not really connected at the moment.This needs to be improved so that CCIs are better connected within themselves but also with the regions and towards cross-sector connection.

Questions from the participants:

  • How can artistic life be combined with the task of working for a big company?
  • Do the artists want to do that kind of work?
  • Selling art to companies was always something additional, which might be perceived as a danger. Should we rather try to use art as a form of communication to carry emotions? How do we get art in the core of the business?

Examples:
Hassan Bakhshi, director of CIs in NESTA’s policy and research unit, calculated statistically how many creatives are working in the CIs: every second person in the UK who is employed is a creative! see also: www.nesta.org.uk/home1/assets/blog_entries/dynamic_mapping

ArtLab in Copenhagen, Denmark, focusses on developing both the artistic as well as the business skills of creatives, helps artists to introduce concepts to sell them to the market.

The Berlin Carrer College of the University of the Arts offers help in self-marketing for musicians and other creatives.

At the Aalborg University and within the InVio network (Denmark) business models are analysed in order to gain an insight where to efficiently use design tools, creative workshops etc

Learnings:

  • In order to convince companies/politicians/investors to connect with the arts, it is important to make them understand that they need innovation: They have to fall in love with the idea.
  • It is inevitable to have a holistic view from different perspectives, nationally and internationally (creating professional interface agencies). It is not only about pure value but sustainability!
  • The idea of co-creation needs to be pushed.
  • Create a neutral arena so that both sides feel comfortable, invent a tool that makes it easier for both sides to communicate, e.g. via mediators. (see also: http://www.trainingartistsforinnovation.eu)
  • Arts’ organisations need to be supported – while policy makers need to be properly informed.
  • Integrate a creative professional in the boards of companies while establishing new forms of networks.

⇒ In order to clarify the situation for both sides, structure tools need to be used/ created.

Further Links:
ArtLab Copenhagen: http://artlab.dk
Berlin Career College, University of Arts: http://www.udk-berlin.de/sites/ziw/content/index_ger.html
Aalborg University: http://www.en.aau.dk
InVio network: http://invio-net.dk
Training arts for innovation: http://www.trainingartistsforinnovation.eu

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)