brandenburg

Barcamp review: Interdisciplinary working groups

Barcamp review: Interdisciplinary working groups

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

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

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

Workshop situation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Concrete ideas for action:

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

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

Further links:

Bauhaus University Weimar, Prototypen-Seminar

Brainstorm Crossmedia, Denmark

Plug and play tech center, Silicon Valley

Incubator Milano Speed Mi Up, Milan, Italy

Another example from Germany: Grüne Werkstatt Wendland and their Designcamp

 

© by Marie Jacobi (www.visualrecording.de)

© by Marie Jacobi (www.visualrecording.de)

 

Creative collaboration in Brandenburg! A review of the C2C Barcamp

Creative collaboration in Brandenburg! A review of the C2C Barcamp

What happens if you put a group of experts on creative industries from five different countries and a variety of professional backgrounds together for a whole weekend? Add some post-its, a lot of coffee, a dash of sunshine and spoons full of open-mindedness … and you’ll get: creative collaboration!
This is what we experienced during the two intense days of the C2C-Barcamp last weekend in Brandenburg/Havel.
“How does a smart financial ecosystem for creative industries look like? How do we pave the way to a creative economy? What are the features of strong networks? What are smart approaches for cross sector collaborations? What is radical innovation? …” 
 were only some of the many questions we discussed  with our partners and other experts from Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Estonia and Germany. Their dedication and open contribution helped us gain important insights and we would like to thank them all!
The complete official
More detailed results of the 15 different workshop sessions will be published here in the following days. For now, we let the pictures speak for themselves …
A warm welcomeAny idea?Good morning! So, who are you?Morning pitching sessionMorning pitching sessionWorking on the schedule ...The pitched topicsThe schedule!Robert Karlsson and Gerda Hempel hosting a workshop sessionSome first results ...© by Marie Jacobi (www.visualrecording.de)© by Marie Jacobi (www.visualrecording.de)© by Marie Jacobi (www.visualrecording.de)
3rd regional workshop – a deepened investigation on cross-over inititaives and coworking in rural contexts

3rd regional workshop – a deepened investigation on cross-over inititaives and coworking in rural contexts

The third out of four planned regional workshops took place in the middle of May in the very unusual setting of the Alte Mühle (old mill) in Himmelpfort, one and a half hours by car north of Berlin. The village counts only around 550 inhabitants and is a popular holiday resort famous for being Santa Clause’s home, but devoid of any kind of industry or economy whatsoever.

The Alte Mühle is an old industrial mill, owned by Tilman Kunowski and his partner Brit Eisman, who seek to transform the place into a meeting place for creative professionals who want to transplant their work- and living space to the country side for a while.

To this special venue we had invited some of the participants of our last workshop (from Neuruppin, Oranienburg, Eberswalde and Strausberg), who were and are already working with and on the issues of cross-over inititaives and have or plan to acquire a space where this can happen – be it under the format called coworking or in a different manner.

As a special guest we had invited Marc Piesbergen, the project leader of Grüne Werkstatt Wendland, an open source project in the very rural region Wendland, mostly famous for the regular protest against the passing Castor Transport, for Ex-Hippie communes and the historical rundlings villages.

In this remote area, the Grüne Werkstatt manages to bring together designers, students and local companies to work together on innovative new products and services in their annual project week called Designcamp.

As this project is already running very successfully and is open to being transferred to other regions, Marc was really the perfect guest for our workshop.

In the first part, he shared all his experience and answered to all the many questions the group had. In the second part, we concentrated on the participants’ own projects, their challenges and visions and collected ideas on how to go on from there. It definitely seems as though stronger collaboration between all sectors and local players is a good starting point.

Right now we are in the middle of conceptualizing the next steps on which we will keep you posted here.

Round table n°2: Access to smart finance – a review

Round table n°2: Access to smart finance – a review

On tuesday, 21st of May, we gathered in Copenhagen for our second round table (of four) to discuss the question of „Access to smart finance – how can investors be better investors for the creative industries?“

Against the grey sky and the rain drizzles, CKO – our co-hosts for this event – had arranged the meeting to take place at Artlab, a colourful venue and institution for the professionalisation of artists and creatives, located right at the big lakes of the city. 

We had invited different specialists from Denmark (CKO and Refleks), Sweden (Media Evolution), Italy (Arts4Business Institute, Trentino School of Management) and Germany (see below) in order to get as broad a perspective on the topic as possible. After a short round of presentation, we had three spontaneous mini-presentations/experience recounts by Daniel Kerber, founder of morethanshelters (mobile shelter concept realized with a number of different approaches to investment), Markus Presch from the Thuringian Agency for the creative industries (THAK), on a study conducted by the Thuringian structure bank and the derived actions, as well as Florian Knetsch from Prognos, who conducted a study for the German Ministry of Economy with a focus on fields of interaction of creative business and other fields of economy (linked below).

Søren Würtz (CKO)

Søren Würtz (CKO)

After these short impulses we jumped right into the presentation of the study prepared by CKO especially for C2C. Søren Würtz, chief consultant within CKO, had conducted a dozen of interviews with all kinds of investors (all but private banks and not donors) from 5 countries across Europe, who are already acting “smartly” in the field of CCI. The approach – a clever twist – was to ask these investors how, in their view, the others were acting “stupid” and which mistakes they frequently make.

But what is smart financing? The opposite of stupid, which is only looking to yesterday and generalizing economic logic that cannot be applied to all branches of economy, as the “rules” are changing, not only in society, but also in economy. Estimating next year’s revenue by looking at last year’s revenue might not always be the best method when it comes to innovative and creative companies …

In order to be a smart investor, you need to dare to jump low, start with small steps, test with low-cost market analysis, fail and re-try, build up while doing and working with 2 months-plans instead of 3-years-plans (which always bear more risk …)

And why should investors invest in the CCI? Because they are growing and are better off today than many other companies, even after the crisis (for example in the music industry). This reality challenges the general assumption of CCI businesses as being flaky and risky …

Here is a list of initiatives to take as suggested during the interviews

  • awareness-rising and knowledge transfer ((e.g. in get-together-meetings with creatives and investors) 
  • investors’ academies (e.g. seminars in which special CCI knowledge is transmitted)
  • bundling of CCI companies into a portfolio (which might make it more attractive to invest)
  • more cases (as a base for decision making, an ersatz for statistics and numbers)
  • new pitching design
  • grave to cradle / the life cycle approach (which means that the knowledge of young creative entrepreneurs should be used already today, before they „retire“ from their businesses and become business angels and consultants or even smart investors themselves)
  • Euro-Hollywood“ (creating clusters/working group of specialists on one particular field, e.g. film, games, music etc.)
  • a new valuation tool
  • move more investors into incubators

In two groups, the round table participants decided on a) the impact of each proposed initiative (high or low), b) the difficulty level of their implication.

Results from group 1

Highly effective and easy to implement:

  • Awareness-rising
  • Bundling of CCI companies
  • More cases (all linked together)

Highly effective but hard to implement:

  • Euro-Hollywood, because in many subsectors clusters already exist as very closed entities
  • Investors’ academies + More investors into incubators, because investors “don’t like to be tought” … and because “the investors” are a very heterogeneous group in themselves, of which some might be open to the new experiences and other not so much …
  • A new valuation tool, because it is not clear what it could be, although it would definitely be very important, in order to generate the much needed „hard facts“

Less effective and middle-hard to implement:

The new design of pitching sessions, because one pitching session only reaches a limited number of people which makes the process time consuming and thus not so highly effective.

Results from group 2

The second group did not use the given matrix, but built on a time-frame order of the proposed initiatives, departing from

  1. the basis: the generation of more cases in order to raise awareness. This lies at the very beginning of it all, as we are in a situation today, where we need to convince the first movers to open the door …
  2. step: bundling of CCI companies, leading to the development of the following tools:
  • more investors to incubators,
  • investors’ academies, (the two first ones being quite easy to implement as they demand no commitment from the investors.)
  • new design of pitching sessions,
  • Euro-Hollywood.

After you have these tools, at one point you need arguments in order to get the commitment from the investors. This leads to the necessary development of the valuation tool (highest impact and hardest to implement, but a highly desirable goal and useful tool).

We finished the afternoon with a lot of food for thought in our minds and will go on investigating and working on these questions during the barcamp in September!

Many thanks to CKO and all participants for their valuable input!

Links for further reading:

 

Expert Round Table n°2: Access to smart finance

We always talk about how creative entrepreneurs need to learn more business skills, write better business plans, work on lowering their risks and so on … but what happens if you flip that assumption around?! How can investment be smart? And how can investors be better investors for and in the creative industries?

These are the questions we will be discussing tomorrow in Copenhagen during our second expert round table meeting. Our Danish partners from CKO prepared a promising study on the matter, based on qualitative interviews with investors and creative entrepreneurs and we invited experts from Denmark, Sweden, Italy and Germany to add as many different perspectives as possible.

The results will be posted here soon after …

First results of our survey on the demand for coworking in Brandenburg

In the beginning of March we hosted a workshop on coworking at the “Schaufenster” in Potsdam, which triggered a lot of intense discussions on which we will keep you posted as soon as we know more.

To follow the subject and to find out about the need for coworking also in other regions of Brandenburg, we have designed a survey with 10 questions, which is still open for participation (see post from March, 15th).

Up to today, 57 participants have answered the questions. The answers have been compiled in a document (in German language) that you can access and download here: Causse (2013) Bedarfsanalyse_Coworking im Land Brandenburg_Stand24.04.2013

We will constantly be updating the results over the course of the project and try to keep you informed about all developments in this matter and are also always open to feedback and suggestions!

C2C in search for illustrators

Hello there,

we are looking for illustrators for our workshops, the barcamp in June and our final conference in Brandenburg. You should be able to visualize statements, the course of discussions and thus to summarize the results of our workshops around creative industries topics. If you are interested, please contact our project manager Noémie Causse  with a short overview over your portfolio and you experiences with illustrating events: nc@c2conference.org

 

 

Second regional workshop: starting to assess needs and demands in Brandenburg

The second regional workshop took us to the 42.00 inhabitant town Oranienburg about half an hour north of Berlin. Our goal was to test how relevant our previous findings would be for those in local business or culture administrations in the districts of Brandenburg. Together with Katja Dietrich-Kröck, the creative industries coordinator in Brandenburg, we invited about 20 people who already were active in this field.

The meeting place seemed like a symbol for future creative industries development in Brandenburg: we met at Oranienwerk, an ensemble of buildings that had been used as a mill until 1989. The different parts of the building structure shall be developed into a location for cultural and creative industries. The building application has been handed in, they are just waiting to kick off.

In the course of the workshop we presented some of our findings from our trip to Skåne and Copenhagen. Although to some of the participants the examples seemed to be a bit “too urban”, some topics emerged as being relevant in Brandenburg as well:

1. Infrastructure/Work Space: while some argued that coworking was indeed only a topic for the more urban structures in Brandenburg like Potsdam, others stressed that due to the  increasing lack of low priced space in Berlin, alternatives in smaller cities that still could easily be reached by public transport opened up scope for action in Brandenburg. Allowing for experiments and not being distracted by manifold events and activities in the capital could indeed be a field of action for Brandenburg in supporting creative industries.

2. Mapping and Visibility: a huge deficit is that creative entrepreneurs and companies hence are not visible enough to decision makers. While oftentimes “facts, facts and only facts” count, the value of creative industries for local and regional development is still not well-known. The participants of our workshop discussed that it would be beneficial to have a template for quantitative and qualitative measurement that could easily be adopted by towns or districts.

3. Consulting and Coaching: While a systematic account of the existing consulting and coaching structure is lacking, our participants uttered doubts whether the existing structures really served the special needs of creative industries entrepreneurs. Wolfgang Flieger, project manager at our cooperation partner IBF (Institute for occupational area research and corporate planning in the media sector) gave our participants valuable insights into his experience with creative entrepreneurs within the “Innovations need Courage” program. While there are manifold institutions and consultancies in charge of consulting entrepreneurs in the stage of the formation of their business, coaching in an earlier as well as in a later phase is lacking. The IBF thus invented an early stage consulting approach when there is not yet a business plan that could be discussed. This kind of consulting seems to be especially relevant for CCI entrepreneurs, in Brandenburg typically coming from cultural projects backgrounds

4. Networking seems to be an everlasting demand when it comes to creative industries support. In Brandenburg, there have already been attempts to address this demand, e.g. for the design sector with the “Design Days Brandenburg“. Networking towards other industries, among CCI entrepreneurs of different disciplines and also on the administrative level is still underveloped.

From our point of view, our findings about CCI instruments in Skåne and Copenhagen triggered a discussion and an exchange of ideas in the region and helped identifying need and gaps in CCI support. The workshop served as a starting point for a more regular exchange. Moreover, C2C and its cooperation partner IBF can accompany some of the initiatives arising from the workshop during the next months, giving advice and providing tailored consulting.

 

Further information

Portraits of CCI entrepreneurs inBrandenburg (in German)
Portraits of CCI entrepreneurs using early stage consulting (in German)

Workshop announcement: existing and new approaches and activities for better cooperation and CCI support in Brandenburg

Today in a week we will be hosting our second workshop in Brandenburg, again in cooperation with Katja Dietrich-Kröck, the creative coordinator of the region.

This time we want to focus on the existing and ongoing activities that are being carried out in the different Landkreise in Brandenburg, on existing CCI projects in the region, the encountered challenges and obstacles, as well as the potential seen within this branch.

We invited different carefully selected representatives from the economic development administration, from different cultural and touristic offices, as well as creative networkers and other multipliers in order to discuss these topics on a very practical level.

Together, we hope to find out more about the specific demand of CCI entrepreneurs in the different regions, clarify what support methods can work and which do not, help foster better networking conditions and maybe also develop ideas on how working solutions in one region can be successfully transferred and implemented to others or even better, how they can be turned into a model that works for the whole of Brandenburg.

We are very much looking forward to this workshop and would like to thank all participants as well as our hosts from the Oranienwerk!

 

What: Workshop on new approaches and activities for better cooperation and CCI support in the region of Brandenburg

When: Friday, 22nd of March, 12 to 4 p.m.

Where: Oranienwerk, Kremmener Str. 43, 16515 Oranienburg

Organized by Creative Capital Conference in cooperation with “Kreativdialog”.

 

More infos: Kreativdialog and Oranienwerk

 

First advisory board meeting

Yesterday afternoon we had our first advisory board meeting, to which we invited CCI experts from Brandenburg and other German regions, such as Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Thuringia: Nina Dreier (Kulturbehörde Hamburg), Dr. Stefan Neubacher (Kulturamt Eberswalde), Katja Dietrich-Kröck (ZAB), Dr. Manfred Wäsche (IHK Potsdam), Prof. Dr. Dana Mietzner (TH Wildau), Prof. Dr. Carsten Busch (HTW Berlin), Dr. Nancy Richter (Bauhaus Uni Weimar) and Beate Ecke (Ecke Design, Potsdam). Also with us have been the advisory board’s chairman Dirk Kiefer (Thuringian Agency for the Creative Industries) and Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Müller, the project’s academic co-director.

In a very brief and intense session of only two hours, we discussed our two hypotheses:

1. Support strategies should first and foremost asses the candidate’s personality and not only the quality of the business idea or business plan.

2. Freelancers need active support strategies (as opposed to passive ones, e.g. an institution with fixed opening hours offers a support program to creative entrepreneurs seeking help, instead of going out “into the field” to meet the creatives where they actually are)

The questions that arose triggered the methodology behind the assessment of a person’s personal quality, asked how to set the frame for a governance of self-governance (as opposed to rationalist management), why so many creative entrepreneurs seem so reluctant to grow and maximize their businesses (because of the fear of being turned into managers?), how to coordinate the active “fishing” for interesting projects especially in rural areas, how to promote the creative industries as a career path for graduates of management and economics and how the existing coaching offer can be improved in order to meet the creative entrepreneurs’ needs.

We will definitely continue monitoring these questions and meet our experts in follow-up meetings in order to find answers to as many of these questions as possible.

Thanks again to all our experts for being there and contributing to this fruitful discussion! We look forward to welcoming you again in June!