brandenburg

Barcamp review: New finance instruments for incubators

Session Host Corrado Bottoli introduces the work of the Milan Chamber of Commerce that helps to promote new businesses and support high potential growth companies. He points out the relationship between the public and private sector for new companies (like startups). Background is that in Milan 25% of new companies die after one year. Bottoli’s goal for the session is to show different ways to support startups and find new instruments with the help of the participants.

The Milan chamber of commerce gives support on three levels:

  1. Equity capital market with equity funds in terms of creating equity funds with a direct investment and setting up a co-investment with the private sector (ongoing project)
  2. Debt capital market in terms of guarantee funds for startups and grants to reduce the cost of bank loans
  3. Setting up new incubators in terms of low price for facilities and training/tutoring to reduce risk of investment 

The theses and major points for discussion of the session were:

  • With regards to equity capital market, the participants criticise the focus on only high potential startups like in the technology sector that gets enough support anyways. The creative sector, e.g. fashion design seems to be underrepresented. One Participant points out that high tech sector is not necessarily supported anyways because there are long production process, too, e.g. for computer game developers. The creative sector has the advantage of being able to form working groups that share space and capacities.
    The participants express their doubts that startups in the creative sector want to have equity money because banks wouldn’t finance their projects anyways and that debt instruments might be more suitable.

  • With regards to dept capital market, the participants note, that clients usually prefer grants while there is no proof that grants have a growth effect. The garantee system via microfinancing agencies (in Brandenburg) on the other hand doesn’t seem to have any effect. In Estonia grants sometimes work but very often it is a black whole. One suggestion for cultural support is to demand more professionalism from their clients/startups. The participants agree that grants are not the solution or at least should be designed in a better way. One suggestion is to follow the investors and how much money they want to invest.

Further points of discussion and other contributions:

  • The role of the public sector is also discussed, but the situations in the participants’ respective home countries are very different.

  • Crowdfunding as a potential alternative which also allows for early market research.

  • The idea of paying back some of the money or providing new jobs after success was brought up. The problem is to give the right incentives. If the condition is to employ new people companies would employ anybody to keep the money. It is always a distortian of the market. Another option is to pay pack if you are not successful in order keep the motivation to succeed alive. 

Examples:

  • Milano Speed Mi Up: incubator run by Milan Chamber of Commerce and Bocconi University. The idea is to combine startups with young freelancers to work together by providing services (training, innovation, internationalization), working spaces, tutoring and IT services. The goals are to set up about 10 startup/year (startup hub) and support 20 professionals/year (professional hub). http://www.speedmiup.it

  • Exist Gründerstipendium: provides a basic salary for the company members, money for the company and coaching. The project members have to reach milestones but if they are not successful they dont have to pay back anything. The advantage is they can concentrate on their project. http://www.exist.de/exist-gruenderstipendium/

There is no ideal model for public support due to the differences of the countries. All three introduced models could be helpful. There seems to be an agreement that debt instruments and creating new incubators might be more suitable for the creative sector. New instruments could be crowdfunding and networking, they should be added to the three models .

Links:
Milan Chamber of Commerce: http://www.mi.camcom.it

Barcamp review: New approaches to coaching and consulting

Jörn Krug is a scientist at Filmschool Babelsberg and works as a coach at the IBF-Institute. Before, he built „Media Exist“, a platform for creatives of the region of Berlin-Brandenburg who want to set up businesses. Most of his clients think that regular coaches and consultants do not really offer suitable services. This is one of the reasons why he and his colleagues published the book „Beratung und Coaching in der Kreativwirtschaft“ (Kohlhammer Edition Kreativwirtschaft, 2011, Klaus-Dieter Müller, Wolfgang Fischer, Jörn Krug). For him, coaching is more like a mid-term/ long-term process. It gives the client the chance to work on his/her own and it can fail easily if the interests are going appart. He sees consulting more in a short-term perspective, as a knowledge transfer from an expert to someone else. On the other hand, a coach has to accept the clients’ opinions.

In this session, the host and the participants discuss the following assumptions:

Thesis 1: Each stadium needs a specific coaching method/ consulting approach.
Thesis 2: The different structure of creative industries leads to a need of different instruments.

The core question is: “What are the best methods for each entrepreneurial stage (experimental, pre-start up, start up, growth phase, etc.)?”

The results of the participants’ brainstorming on the thesis:

  • Coaching is built on trust.
  • A coach / consultant needs expertise.
  • Looking at the personalities is important in both consulting and coaching.
  • Understanding the clients’ motivation, finding out their individual talents, USPs and needs and helping them to develop strategies is important
  • It is difficult to be coach and consultant at the same time.
  • It’s all about the mix.
  • Coaching includes observing by participating
  • Every step in the process has its challenges.
  • The quality of a consultant must be to have her/ his own techniques so that people can choose.

Examples:

The learnings of this session are not easy to summarize. This might be explained by the complexity of a coaching/consulting process. Every client has a different background and therefore different needs so that each process is individual and tailor-made.

  1. Regarding the question whether we need specific services for each phase of development, there might be appropriate advise according to each phase and a coach should let go if he/she is not the right coach.
  2. Instead of asking whether there was a specific structure of creative industries, it might be more about the question: How can people choose the right coach/ consultant?, Has the public body knowledge about the track record?
  3. Essential features of consulting / coaching
  • experience of the coach / consultant is important but should not dominate the process
  • awareness, empathy and dialogue are essential
  • reflect on the right mixture if you are using elements of coaching and/ or consulting
  • empowerment of the client is importan
  • a coach should be passionate about what he/she does.

 

Links:

IBF-Institut: http://www.ibf-institut.de

HFF Potsdam: http://www.hff-potsdam.de

Media Exist: http://www.mediaexist.com

Barcamp review: Radical innovation

Barcamp review: Radical innovation

jensWith his own company JK Innovation and within the Nebula group (a joint initiative of several Danish companies working in the field of innovation), Jens Kruhøffer offers services to private firms but mostly to the public sector, for which he runs projects mainly dealing with education and interventions. The project which served as example for this workshop session – “Nordjylland på spel” – used the means of gamification to enhance young people’s participation in matters of regional development.

The game, developed by a network of consultants under the leadership of Jens Kruhøffer, focused on healthy competition and collaboration. It was not delivered as a ready-made product to the region, but as a co-creational process between the citizens and the government.

Important learnings were that it was hard to convince people that they can play with the fine line between reality and fiction and that a balance between content and process is difficult but extremely important to achieve. Ultimately, collaboration, passion and emotion were identified as immense drivers for innovation.

Before this backdrop, this session was aimed at defining what radical innovation is and where it can lead.

The participants’ ad-hoc definition of radical innovation included:

© by Marie Jacobi (www.visualrecording.de)

  • rule-breaking new ideas
  • challenging of the ordinary world-view
  • different point-of-view/focus
  • combining two incompatible elements
  • disruptive and unconventional
  • complete changes in standards (methods, processes, outcomes, meanings etc.) which create new markets
  • playing with odds, gambling, taking risks

Questions arose, like:

  • How can we innovate the innovation process?
  • How can we create standards and a shared language for innovation without creating barriers?
  • How can we work with companies/organizations that have a very fixed aim/goal/focus that they don’t want to change?
  • How can we create a shared understanding between innovators and companies/organizations? How can we create trust and room for risk?
  • Is an artful transformation (topic of other workshop) a radical innovation?
  • Is this case study really an example of radical innovation or is it more social innovation?
  • What would have been really radical in this example?
  • How can we replicate examples for radical innovation? Are there elemental tools, can we develop a toolkit that can be passed on? How can we design radical innovation processes?
  • What is the benifit of game-based, emotion-based, playful innovation processes for traditional organizations?
  • What are the next steps after an initial pilot phase of radical innovation? How can we achieve long-term effects?

 

Most discussed questions:

How can we create long-term innovation effects?

Through shared experiences, shared language, constant communication. The entire process and communication should reflect innovation, include playfulness and the creating of meaning through fun.

Is radical innovation only applicable for product or service innovation or can it also lead to change in the public sector?

Yes, challenge the given, challenge constraints, as this is were radical innovation is most needed.

 

Examples:

 

At the end of the workshop, the group was asked to identify on which level radical innovation should be applied first and most importantly:

  1. personal dimension (personal skills, drive, goals)

  2. preparing the context (gathering acceptance, shared understanding between partners, definition of problem)

  3. the right process

After intense discussions the group agreed on 3. the right process, as the RIGHT process includes defining needs, problems, research, activation etc. The right process can generate the right mindsets and personal dimensions (process as a catalyst).

 

Links:

Nebula group: http://nebulagroup.dk/

JK Innovation: http://jkinnovation.dk

Barcamp review: Holistic competence development

Barcamp review: Holistic competence development

For hosting this session, we could win over Gerda Hempel from Artlab in Denmark and Robert Karlsson from Kulturkraft Syd in Sweden. Both have longstanding professional experience in the field of competence development for artists and creative professionals.

ArtLab is an institution based in Copenhagen and run by the Danish Musicians Union in cooperation with the Danish Actors Association. ArtLab offers courses and coaching for professional artists and culturally experienced professionals. Artlab aims at creating jobs through education in arts and in arts & business, based on artists’ unique qualifications and methods.

The same is valid for its Swedish counterpart Kulturkraft Syd, based in Malmö, which offers empowerment and competence development to professionals and organizations that are working within the area of performing arts, music, film, television, radio and interactive media.

On the background of these realities and in accordance with C2C’s research findings, this workshop was dedicated to a discussion of the following thesis: “In order to meet the demands of professional development of entrepeneurs in the creative sector, both artistic and business competence development is needed!”

Theses and major points for discussion:

  • Artistic development is fundamentally different from business development
  • Business skills vs. Entrepreneurial skills. Not the same! „Being an entrepreneur is different from starting a company!“
  • The CCI cover a very broad field – every sub-sector requires their specific approach. How can this be addressed?
  • Not every artist/creative/individual needs to know all about business, which makes collaboration even more important. Which minimal basic knowledge is needed in order to be able to collaborate with the right people for the right issues?
  • Do artists want to have business skills? Difference between arts (as “l’art pour l’art”) and creative industries? What are the different needs?
  • If the discussion goes both ways: should business students also learn about arts and culture?
  • How can the existing tools for collaboration between both sectors be better fostered? What can the government do? What needs to be changed in „the system“ in general?


Examples:

 

Summary/Conclusion:

  • The balance and consideration of both sides (arts and business) is crucial

  • The mutual understanding and knowledge of both sides might be a goal to aim for, as they might share the same needs and interest, which in return would make collaboration valuable for both sides.

  • Business skills are never a waste and should be part of the arts education (and vice versa)

  • There is no use in applying corporate models to artistic fields – rather, new models, methods and tools need to be developed

  • Build structures that creatives can draw on when they need certain skills at a certain point

  • Artists should also learn from other artists, not just businesses

  • Mindset is the most important thing

  • Focus on innovation through combined competence / collaboration

 

Links

ArtLab: http://artlab.dk

Kulturkraft Syd: http://kulturkraftsyd.se/hem/

UdK Career Center / Workshops: http://www.careercenter.udk-berlin.de/sites/careercenter/content/e100000/e22910/e28128/index_ger.html

TAFI – Training artists for innovation: www.trainingartistsforinnovation.eu

TAFI publication – “Competencies for new contexts” (2013) by Joost Heinsius and Kai Lehikoinen (editors): http://www.cultuur-ondernemen.nl/documents/17339/0/TAFI+book+2013.pdf

Barcamp review: Building strong networks

Barcamp review: Building strong networks

Media Evolution is the Swedish media cluster, located in Malmö. As such, Media Evolution operates on at least three levels: the Media Evolution City (the meeting and event space, a coworking space and an office hotel), Media Evolution as member-based organization, the Conference (their annual conference). Media Evolution collaborates with a variety of stakeholders, ranging from their members to the region, from the media and creative industries to the construction business. Collaboration is their motto, and so the session hosted by Sten Selander, business developer at Media Evolution, focussed on the question „How to build networks that really have an impact?“

Strengths of networks are certainly that you can rely not only on one specific person but many, services and favours are exchanged in uncomplicated and unbureaucratic manners. The weaknesses however is that they might be instabile if built on only one or a few nodes and they tend to trigger many different expectations of which not all can be met.

Key features of networks:

  • trust
  • network platform (like infrastructure, set of rules)
  • value capture
  • influential power
  • image / identity
  • win-win situation
  • engagement
  • purpose

 

 

The host recommends to structure the network (even private ones) and to act more systematic within it.

In general one should always ask oneself, what are the tools, processes and situations? What has worked and why? Share it. What were good stories or results? Share it! And what were the mistakes and failures? Share it!

The session concluded that

  • Networks work but need to be maintained – that demands effort and communication. The group could not agree about the question if networks need one or a few strong leading figures or if they function by themselves, once established.
  • The value of being in a specific network has to be made clear, e.g. being the first to have a new information or the relevant news.
  • A good way of having contributors is showing them their value and their power: promote and help your networkers. Networks do not have owners but players. Things are moving very fast these days in the neworks, you need to be aware of that 

Further information

Media Evolution: www.mediaevolution.se

The Conference: http://mediaevolution.se/theconference/#!/

Nordic Game: http://nordicgame.com

Barcamp review: Access to smart finance

This session was hosted by Søren Würtz, chief consultant from our Danish partner CKO, the Danish Centre for Culture and Experience Economy. CKO’s work is centered around building frameworks for creative industries and entrepreneurs. At the moment, the topic of access to finance is one of their foci, as they have just been conducting a survey measuring the needs of creative industries vs. other industries in Denmark in order to answer the question: “How can we build an ecosystem in a regional area that fosters good investments?”

A key finding showed that creative industries carried significant ambitions for commercial growth – in this aspect, they were most alike to other industries.
Based on this survey and its results, Søren Würtz set out to discuss the questions: What is smart financing for the creative industries? What is stupid financing for the creative industries?

The theses and major points for discussion of the session were:

  • Ambitions for commercial growth:

This point was challenged by some participants. First, because the study did not take into account companies with less than two employees, freelancers and artists.

Jörn Krug who is a coach for creative entrepreneurs in the region of Brandenburg: “My experience proves both the myth that the creative industry is not interested in growth and the opposite, so I’m surprised that the difference shown by the survey is so small. This shows that the business development components are similar in all industries.”

  • Use of classical analysis tools for success measuring:

Classical investors use the 3-year-ladder, whereas in the creative industries it makes more sense to use the leap metaphor: development 1 step at a time, testing in between phases, and a close relationship with the investor – essentially learning by doing.

In Søren Würtz opinion “the typical 3-year ladder-models doesn’t correspond to the pace of the market, they can’t compete with new developments or miss them completely. Instead, investors and creative industries alike should become experts in change, they should focus on short-term strategies and step-by-step scaling!”

  • Need for immaterial assets, much higher within creative industries than others.


(Source: CKO (2013) Access to smart finance, study and presentation for C2C, May 2013)

Examples:

In groups, the participants worked on the tasks 1) create a map of the investment ecosystem and 2) to develop a strategy for region x.

1) Create a map of the investment ecosystem

  • creatives in the center of the investment ecosystem as the most important aspect
  • creatives should reflect on whether they really need an investor and if yes, what kind, as investments can also be immaterial.
  • Investors should aquire more knowledge of the market, support life-cycle growth models and reflect on their own mindset, as investment gains can also be immaterial.

 

2) Develop a strategy for the region X!

Key questions:

  1. What are the elements of the ecosystem?

  2. How can we create good meeting places?

  3. How can we put new actors into meeting places?

  4. Why are banks always the main go-to actor when it comes to financing? What about venture capital, crowdfunding, private funding?

 

The session concluded that in order to improve the investment system for the creative industries
We need to change the cultural mindset: the intellectual property is unique, not the money involved.
We need to change the paradigm of needs/communication.
We need to help creatives develop business sense.
We need to mix financing sources.
We need to develop small scale financing/crowdfunding as business strategy.
We need to develop incentives and models for role models/ambassadors.
We need to focus also on mentors, not just investors.

Barcamp review: Cross-sector incubators

Barcamp review: Cross-sector incubators

In the course of our research, we not only came across incubators with a sole focus in creative industries link Minc in Malmö, but also incubators with a cross-sectoral approach, i.e. providing space and consulting services to both start-ups (and freelancers) from the creative industries as well as from other business sectors.

 

The session was hosted by Helen Piir, manager of development at the Tallin Creative Business Incubator, an incubator for both creative professionals and companies and non-CCI companies. At the moment, there are 42 companies inside the incubator. Both the mix and the size make the Tallin Creative Business Incubator an exception not only in Estonia.

The incubation program begins with a 6 month start-up module during which mostly organisational issues such as legal forms, homepage development etc. are handled. This phase is followed by an 18 months growth/development module, which focuses on finding new clients and branching out activities. The start-ups can drop out of the incubator at any time – since they have their own structures and goals, after every 6 months, the company and incubator evaluate their time together and decide whether they want to continue the incubation period or not and how. Experience shows that the process is faster, i.e. sucess is achieved earlier, for technology-based and creativity-based companies.

The participants of the session formulated a broad range of entry questions

  • what kind of structural base do you need for an incubator to manage expectations?

  • how to network with incubators/start-ups and with what tools we can help them?

  • what are the solutions for financial sustainability which don’t depend on government funding?

  • how to adress different needs of investors and creatives and how to find the right people for an incubator?

  • are sectorial incubators necessary or counterproductive?

  • should we combine incubators from different industries to make them more diverse?

  • Spaces can be shared, but what about processes? Does there need to be a fixed programm or can there be different modules that can be mixed according to needs, individual training, schedules etc.?

  • What can we do now with this knowledge?

  • How can we find the right people?

  • What is the goal for an incubator?

  • How can we attract other companies and cooperations with creatives?

  • What are the threats/pitfalls of cross-incubation?

 

The session focussed on “Should there be different incubators for creative companies and other sectors?” resulting in two scenarios:

1. Scenario “yes” to the practice of cross-sector incubators:

  • incubator as a point of reference

  • one training program for all

  • easier to get money because investors/government funding can be targeted better

  • different languages, different logic (mindset)

  • space can be adjusted to fit needs

  • marketing focus

  • increases competition

2. Scenario “no” = keeping the sectors apart:

  • can offer different scenarios within an industry since individual approaches are always necessary, especially in the creative sector.

  • spreads or reduces the risk

  • makes it easier for companies to exchange knowledge

  • gives companies and investors a feel for industry thinking

  • one infrastructure for all

 

The participants of the session concluded that the question of a seperated or joint incubator should be based more on value, methods and goals, not industries. Moreover, the process should be the same like in other incubators, but special mentors, trainings etc. should be added. Finally, it was argued to replace “incubation” with “contamination” as incubators shouldn’t be isolated, but serve as open networks that enable thinking and working outside the box



 

Further information
About the Tallinn Creative Incubator as good practice example for spatial cross-collaboration: http://www.cross-innovation.eu/practice/1074/
Tallinn Creative Incubator: http://inkubaator.tallinn.ee
Milano Speed Mi Up: http://speedmiup.it
About Contamination Labs in Italy (see page 109): http://www.sviluppoeconomico.gov.it/images/stories/documenti/startup_eng_rev.pdf

Barcamp review: Experience-based business models

The session on experience-based business models was hosted by Søren Smed, the network coordinator of the Danish innovation network InViO. Søren works on knowledge sharing, match-making and fostering of collaboration between knowledge institutions and companies. His special interests are mobile media, user centered innovation, business models and experience economy and technology.

The background for this session is the increasing importance of the inclusion of experience (in the sense of the German “Erfahrung” rather than just “Erlebnis”) elements into business models. The observation holds both for product as well as service design. Just think of the  queues in front of Apple stores in times of releasing a new iPhone or the Legoland parks.

In this session, the main questions to be addressed were: “What are business models?”, “Do experience-based business models exist?”, “How can we develop these with new ideas?”

One goal of the session was to think about new tools for a business model approach. The business model canvas as well as the method of the “customer journey” were applied in group excercises.

The two groups worked on the experience models around Mc Donald’s and Lego.


The business model canvas. Source: http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas

 

… and put to use by the participants


Source: http://www.cxacademy.org/customer-journeys-an-introduction.html

 

Theses and major points for discussion:

  • A business model itself can be seen as a source of innovation.

  • A good business model might even beat an innovative idea.

  • The value proposition is most important.

  • The customers always needs to be in the center of the business model.

  • What is the value for the customer?

  • Which problems of a customer does one want to address?

 

Further information:
B. Joseph Pine II and James Gilmore 1999. The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre and Every Business a Stage, Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.
Jon Sundbo and Flemming Sørensen 2013. Handbook on the Experience Economy, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.
The Business model canvas: http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas and http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/downloads/business_model_canvas_poster.pdf
The customer journey method: http://www.cxacademy.org/customer-journeys-an-introduction.html
InVio: www.invio-net.dk

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/