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.

Overview: C2C interviews in Skåne, Copenhagen and Northern Italy

In the course of our final conference, we presented some of the most interesting examples  of our research. We had identified more than 100 projects and programmes out of which we selcted 40 for in-depth interviews. Altogether, we conducted almsot 40 interviews in three European regions:  Skåne in Sweden, Copenhagen capital region and Northern Italy (Piemont, Lombardy, Alto-Adige and Emilia-Romagna to be precise). The scope of the projects and initiatives was consciously very broad and ranges from urban developments projects to coworking. The results of the interviews were not only reflected in the regional workshops in Brandenburg and in the course of advisory board sessions, but also in the course of our Barcamp and the mini-studies our transnational partners conducted for us.

C2C Interviews. Overview

Programme/

Initiative

Type(s) of support Country and region City Website
         
After Warhol Events and Workshops, networking Sweden, Skåne Helsingborg https://www.facebook.com/AfterWarhol
ArtLab Professionalization, seminars, network, workshops Denmark Copenhagen www.artlab.dk
Art Rebels Network, Distribution Agency Denmark Copenhagen http://artrebels.com/
Audience Development Marketing, stakeholder involvement Italy, Alto Adige Bozen http://www.provincia.bz.it/cultura/index_i.asp
Boost Cross Media Talent Project grants, consulting, coaching, professionalization, education and training, support of young talent
Network
Infrastructure / work space
Sweden, Skåne Helsingborg www.boosthbg.se
CAKI incubator for the arts education: mentoring, counselling and financial support to students and teachers from member institutions Denmark, Copenhagen Copenhagen www.caki.dk
CIEL Program of 3 universities in Copenhagen, trying to connect university and industry (no CCI) Denmark Copenhagen http://ciel-lab.dk
         
Cre-attivi Grant Italy Monza, Brianza www.cko.dk
Creative Industries Task Force Active talent spotting, counseling, marketing, public procurement Denmark, Copenhagen Copenhagen  
Creative Plot Incubator, consulting, networking Sweden, Skåne Lund http://thecreativeplot.se
Den sociale kapital fond venture capital Denmark, Copenhagen Copenhagen www.densocialekapitalfond.dk
Financing Forum for Kids content Financing, network, professionalization Sweden, Skåne Malmö http://www.thefinancingforum.com/
Fondazione Fitzcarraldo independent, private, non-profit centre for planning, research, training and documentation on cultural, arts and media management, economics and policies Italy Turin http://www.fitzcarraldo.it/en/
Green Room Incubator: consulting, networking, infrastructure Sweden, Skåne Trelleborg http://www.trelleborg.se/sv/foretagare/foretag-stod-och-radgivning/-green-room/
Incredibol Competition, Grants, coaching, provision of spaces Italy Bologna http://www.incredibol.net
IZMO Urban development, Summer schools, training Italy Turin http://izmo.it
Kaospilots Education: School of Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Denmark Aarhus www.kaospilots.dk
KELA urban development, networking, spaces, skill development Sweden, Skåne Landskrona http://kelandskrona.wordpress.com
KPH Coworking Space, consulting, networking Denmark Copenhagen http://kph-projects.dk
Kreanord inter-regional cooperation, Information, policy development All nordic countries   www.kreanord.org
Kulturkraft Syd Professionalization through workshops and seminars Sweden, Skåne Malmö www.kulturkraftsyd.se
Leo Hub Incubator, training, place-making Italy Vigevano http://leohub.technonews.it
MEDEA Prototyping and research laboratory Sweden, Skåne Malmö http://medea.mah.se
Media Evolution and Media Evolution City Media cluster, coworking space, creative business center, network Sweden, Skåne Malmö www.mediaevolution.se www.mediaevolutioncity.se
Minc Incubator, consulting, network Sweden, Skåne Malmö www.minc.se
Nordic Game Program Interest group for digital games industry in the nordic countries. Project grants, funds, networking, representation Sweden, Skåne Malmö http://www.nordicgameprogram.org
Nordic Game Program Interest group for digital games industry in the nordic countries. Project grants, funds, networking, representation Sweden, Skåne Malmö http://www.nordicgameprogram.org
Republikken Coworking Space, consulting, networking, workshops, professionalization Denmark, Copenhagen Copenhagen www.republikken.net
Selfmade Consulting, coaching Sweden, Skåne Landskrona http://selfmade.nu/
SpeedMiUp Incubator Italy, Lombardy Milan http://www.speedmiup.it
Spinner Financial support – scholarships and economic aids, technical assistance and tutoring, training Emilia-Romagna, Italy Bologna www.spinner.it
STPLN Space, consulting, coworking, grants for events Sweden, Skåne Malmö www.stpln.se
The Impact Hub Coworking, network, consulting Italy Rovereto http://rovereto.impacthub.net
THINK Incubator Sweden, Skåne Helsingborg http://thinkinkubator.se
Trentino Creativo Competition, matching Italy Trento http://www.trentinosviluppo.it/Contenuti-istituzionali/Progetti/Trentino-Creativo
         
Urbe Street Art Festival, urban development projects involving arts and creativity Italy Turin https://www.facebook.com/pages/URBE-Rigenerazione-Urbana/238344749552909
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.

New ways in innovation management for sustainable value creation capacity: findings from Italian firms

A growing number of initiatives focus on the collaboration between cultural and creative industries (CCI) and companies from traditional business sectors. The underlying motivation behind this engagement is to uncover the hidden innovation potentials linked to the collaboration between what are considered unlike-minded businesses and practices.

A number of studies primarily focus on the macroeconomic effects of collaboration between CCI and other businesses. Empirical insights into the processes on the level of the individual firm are however still rare. A mini-study from C2C’s Italian project partner Prof. Dr. Giovanni Schiuma from the University of Basilicata and the Innovation Insights Hub in London shall therefore bring more light to the integration of artistic and creative practices into the innovation processes of companies from other business sectors. Together with his colleague Antonio Lerro (Arts for Business Institute), Prof. Schiuma selected a sample of 24 Italian firms and analysed them with respect to their level of integration of artistic and creative practices into their organizational processes and their impacts on business performance.

The report confirms that relationships between CCI and companies from traditional business sectors hence “do not respond to a planned strategy, but are rather the result of singular and sporadic links” and “are not part of a specific innovation management strategy.“ However, Giovanni Schiuma and Antonio Lerro identify and investigate a range of practical examples of how companies engage with creative industries in value creation partnerships. The authors observe that companies mainly establish relationships with CCI in order to respond to challenges in the realm of Corporate Social Responsibilty (CSR), marketing, branding and communication and new values for products and services. Little attention is given to the role that culture and creativity can play as drivers for organisational development and particularly as managerial approaches to support human resource development and engagement.

The findings of the report also point to a deficit of innovation support: even though there is a growing awareness of the need to collaborate with partners from the CCI, there is a huge lack of knowledge about how this kind cooperations can be stragically integrated into internal innovation management processes. The starting point for developing initiatives seems to be the commitment of the entrepreneur and/or the top management of companies as they are considered the most enabling factor for the development of effective relationships between businesses and CCI.

Download the full report 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

 

After mapping, consulting and networking: what’s next in creative industries support. Insights from our Barcamp Documentation

After mapping, consulting and networking: what’s next in creative industries support. Insights from our Barcamp Documentation

The aim of our Barcamp was: on one hand to discuss the relevance of the project’s research findings with creative industries project and programme managers from Sweden, Italy and Denmark and on the other hand to provide a fertile and open ground for exchange in order to create new knowledge, to extend our focus and to initiate a small European network ourselves. In order to achieve this, we “betrayed” the Barcamp method and set a couple of topics that seemed relevant from our perspective for future creative industries support.

Here, we now provide the full documentation in digestible PDF pieces:

  1. Arts and Innovation Connect
  2. Fishing for talents
  3. Interdisciplinary Working Groups
  4. Experience-based business models
  5. Cross-sector incubation
  6. Access to smart finance
  7. Building strong networks
  8. Holistic competence development
  9. International cluster cooperation / Europe mix’n’mingle
  10. Radical innovation
  11. New finance instruments for incubators
  12. New approaches to coaching and consulting
  13. A toolkit for creative industries support
C2C presenting cases from small and medium sized cities at the final conference of the Urban Creative Poles project

C2C presenting cases from small and medium sized cities at the final conference of the Urban Creative Poles project

The Conference Venue

The Conference Venue

On November 7, the INTERREG project Urban Creative Poles held its final conference in the lead partner’s city of Cottbus, based in the region of Brandenburg for which we develop our creative industries toolkit. The organizers had chosen the fantastic, post-modern setting of the information, communication and media centre (IKMZ) of the Brandenburg Technical University of Cottbus.

The keynote from Prof. Joan Ganau from the University of Lleida in Spain highlighted some of the weaknesses of intermediate cities with respect to creative industries development:

  • less dynamism
  • lack of opportunities for qualified jobs
  • difficulties to attract and retain talents
  • no economies of agglomeration
  • bad international accessibility.

From his perspective, the strengths of intermediate cities lie in

  • housing prices
  • more possibility of social cohesion
  • richer “social capital”
  • no formal social relation networks (more dense and fluid)
  • quality of life and sustainability
  • place identity, ensue of community.

The second keynote speaker, Ralf Ebert (urban planner and CEO of Stadtart) made an attempt to answer the question why CCI can be important for medium-sized cities:

  • for the marketing of the city
  • job creation
  • necessary part of business oriented service industries
  • sector as part of the regional innovation system
  • locational factor for companies from other sectors and for households
  • spill-over effects on city development.

Tom Fleming from the British creative consultancy TFConsultancy gave an inspiring speech and stressed the necessity of talent development and the need to invest in experimentation, convergence and disruption. From a governance perspective, he called for joined-up approaches to creative industries development including culture, tourism, innovation and wider “creative” spill-over effects. His considerations also confirmed another observation we discussed a lot recently: the observation that the role of business support for the creative industries seems to change the overall rationale of business support in the sense that facilitation, moderation, building of local, national and international networks and the enabling of collaborative practices becomes central to supporting an industry and therefore fundamentally challenges the self-understanding of business support as it has been practiced before. This implies that the discourse about creative industries may not take the shape of a “dolphin” (in the sense that it is a nice topic that makes everyone smile and evokes good feelings) as Tom Fleming pictured and highlighted. Rather, it is discourse that calls for action and  that should not be separated from other societal and economic transformation processes.

Although the small and medium sized cities have not been the sole focus point of our project, we of course identified and looked at creative industries support schemes in these contexts. Therefore, we were invited by the organizers to present some findings from this part of our research. From Sweden, we explained how the region’s initiatives were initially triggered by support from the national level. We presented the cases from Skåne of the consulting project Selfmade, the creative industries development approach of KELA as part of a wider urban development strategy in Landskrona as well as the incubator Creative Plot in the university city of Lund.

IMG_20131107_104340From our research in Italy we showed how the audience development initiative of the cultural department of the city of Bolzano managed to not only increase cultural
participation within the city but also from among the surrounding villages. This example raised for us the question how the smart use of (guerilla) marketing methods could also integrate the local creative industries. In the close to the city of Milan located Vigevano, the business department builds on the work of Leonardo da Vinci to redevelop the castle in the heart of the city that has been empty for decades. The plan is to establish a permanent exhibition but also to attract creative entrepreneurs from the field of digital media through offering coworking spaces.

The challenges of the adoptation of a support scheme initially designed for a city as big as Bologna became obvious in the case IncrediBol! This programme is being extended to the province now where stakeholders are dissipated and the needs of the entrepreneurs and public administration seem to be different from the ones in Bologna. Finally, we presented which challenges the introduction of the typically very urban infrastructure and networking concept “The HUB” brings with it when established in a city as small as Rovereto. Here it seems that more communication efforts are necessary to gain acceptance by the local population compared to a more urban environment and to provide an understanding of the work and life situation of entrepreneurs.

An overview about the actions and results of the Urban Creative Poles project can be found here:
http://www.creativepoles.eu/ucp-documents