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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)
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 …

Research Trip to Denmark in January, Day 2: art students and their entrepreneurial trouble

Research Trip to Denmark in January, Day 2: art students and their entrepreneurial trouble

Holmen in Copenhagen is not only a film location for Danish crime series like Ørnen but also the place where the Danish art schools are clustered since the beginning oft he 1990s. At Holmen, the morning of our second day brought us insights and inspiration in the person of Pernille Skov from CAKI. With her, we could discuss a topic we had not covered yet in the course of our previous research.

Among the core cleavages within creative industries are without doubt the ones between artistic creativity and economics, between diversity and duplication as well as the need for appreciation by peers and necessary pricing.

IMG_20130116_113629

Art students are artistically highly qualified when they leave art schools. Yet many suddenly face the challenge of an existence as freelancer or independent artist for which they are not prepared for in the course of their studies. To adress this gap, Denmark’s art schools decided to establish the Center for Applied Artistic Innovation (CAKI) that operates as a center under the wings oft he ministry of culture. The art schools are member organizations of  the center.

CAKI complements the artistic professionalization at the art schools not in the pure business sense: they rather focus on the structural framing of the artist’s practice.

In its everyday business, CAKI counsels individuals and groups, offers workshops and seminars and gives grants for projects. CAKI supplies a range of entrepreneurship activities for the arts students at CAKI’s member schools. Through CAKI, students can participate in workshops and courses like BUSINESS BEHIND THE TALENT, FUNDRAISER WORKSHOP and SPRING. CAKI has also published ENTREPRENEUR a series of easy to read, Danish publications that give guidance on different aspects of working as an artistic or cultural entrepreneur.

At the moment, CAKI considers to establish an incubator because they realized that the students need spaces between graduation and the first real job. We will follow this development and wish Pernille all the best for the great work she does with her seemingly endless energy.

Further Information

CAKI (2012) Memorandum On Entrepreneurship in arts education (PDF)

Art Schools in Denmark

The Royal Danish Academy of Music
The National Film School of Denmark
The Rhythmic Music Conservatory
The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
The Royal Danish Schools of Architecture,Design and Conservation
The Danish National School of Performing Arts
Academy for Untamed Creativity (AFUK)
Textile and Handicraft Design/UCC
Performance Design/RUC
Copenhagen School of Design and Technology

Research Trip to Denmark in January, Day 1: Collaborative spirit with European horizon

Research Trip to Denmark in January, Day 1: Collaborative spirit with European horizon

Our first research trip in the new year takes us to a cold but sunny Copenhagen. In terms of terminology, there could not have been a better place than Café Europa in the heart of Copenhagen to meet our first interview partner Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning. He is both director of the Danish Center for Cultural and Experience Economy (CKO) and also well known for his activities on the European level within the European Creative Industries Alliance (ECIA). He explains that support schemes for creative businesses can obviously look quite different. CKO focuses on the demand side: the core of the center’s activities is to make businesses from other sectors aware of the innovative potential of collaboration with companies from the creative industries.

CKO is also active in

  • creating a network (CKO’s network today consists of around 1.200 companies)
  • creating a knowledge base through reports and reviews
  • engaging companies
  • and giving advice to authorities and programs like KreanordECIAFAMECI factor and others.

Since 2008, CKO has funded 20 projects in which a creative industries company or freelancer and a company from another business or the public sector worked to together. As the funding scheme expired in 2012, CKO is now promoting the methodology about how companies from other sectors can use CCI-input for their innovations and growth. Fostering these kinds of cooperations is definitely among the top issues that supporters of creative industries will have to take into considerations in the future.

Further information

Research trip to Denmark, Day 4: urban farming in the harbor and new ways of university cooperation

Research trip to Denmark, Day 4: urban farming in the harbor and new ways of university cooperation

Back in Copenhagen it was time to dive into something completely off track: the Copenhagen Oyster bank in the City’s harbour bassin. Inspired by similar projects in New York and Sydney, where oysters help to cleanse the harbour water, the Copenhagen Oyster bank is right now in an early pilot phase. If everything works out as planned, the first home-grown oysters will be harvested in september 2013 and the whole project will then be turned into an experience-based gastronomy and urban farming-project. We were interested in this project as it demonstrates how a city can develop new ways of appropriation of its space and how different stakeholders – the municipality, the citizens, the local businesses, the gastronomy and even nature – with numerous different objectives can work together to reach one common goal.

At the Copenhagen City harbor

At the Copenhagen City harbor

The oyster bank – somewhere out there ...

The oyster bank – somewhere out there …

One of these stakeholders is the architecture bureau Effekt which designed the construction for the bank itself as well as for the floating restaurant and other elements. We met Mads Olsen, project developer at Effekt and a gastronome himself. He came to get us at the hotel in the morning and drove us out to the harbour to show us the Oyster bank. There was not so much to see for the naked eye, but we were still able to gain an impression of the area – a new built apartment area in the harbour district, which still feels rather sterile and will most definitely profit from any kind of project helping to enriching the neighbourhood and fill it with life. We’ll definitely come back in autumn to have a look at the oysters!

Besides the Oyster bank, Effekt is also involbed in other visionary projects for a „user-friendly“ Copenhagen. One example is a sports and fairground project in the decaying space underneath an autobahn-bridge separating the two communities of Copenhagen and Fredriksberg. It sure did look and sound exciting and we wish them all best for succeeding with it!

(For more information visit: http://konvers.dk/kbenhavns-stersbanke and www.effekt.dk)

 

Our second meeting of the day was more institutional again and brought us back to CBS (Copenhagen Business School) which we already knew from our previous visit to Copenhagen in early November. This time, we met with Luise Noring Henler, project manager of CIEL – Copenhagen Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, an alliance between the three major universities in Copenhagen (Danish Technical University / DTU, CBS, University of Copenhagen/UCPH) for joint efforts to develop and support initiatives with innovation and entrepreneurship for the benefit of students, industry, research and education within the region.

In short, CIEL is:

  • 3 partner universities
  • 3 target areas: research, education, students + corporate partners
  • 9 novel cross university-industry programs
  • 90 projects in partnership with faculty, student organizations and business

Luise sees herself as a facilitator and very action-oriented driver, whose work often consist more of politics then the content side. Currently, she is involved in about 25 projects of which the Entrepreneurship Research Accelerator (ERA) and the new Entrepreneurial Excellence Programs (EEP) “Green innovation in cities” (GIiC) are the ones in which she is the most involved. The latter one includes the Bejing-Copenhagen-Urban Challenge, an exchange program with universities in Bejing in 2013, addressing the global challenges of green growth and sustainability.

The collaboration with the business partners is established through the academic collaborators, where many relationships already existed. Luise takes care of selecting the right companies for each course and does the matchmaking. Over the years, a pool of corporation partners has been build up, of which most of the companies stay with the program.

These companies are not remunerated for their contribution, as a lot of them do not need funds. They are bound into the program, by sourcing out questions and tasks to the students.

(For more information visit: http://ciel-lab.dk/)

 

Research trip to Denmark, Day 2: a joint Nordic initiative for the CCI and a co-working space unlike the others

Research trip to Denmark, Day 2: a joint Nordic initiative for the CCI and a co-working space unlike the others

Welcome to Kreanord

Welcome to Kreanord

The second day of our trip started at Kreanord, the Nordic Council of ministers‘ joint initiative for the CCI in the Nordic Countries, where we met with Saga Wendén, the project manager, who is herself of Finnish origin, thus incorporating the joint Nordic cooperation in her own person. More

Research in Denmark, Day 1: Interview at Lars von Trier’s Zentropa

Research in Denmark, Day 1: Interview at Lars von Trier’s Zentropa

Zentropa's headquarter at Filmbyen

Zentropa’s headquarter at Filmbyen

The first day started with a meeting quite out of the ordinary at the Filmbyen, the film studios of Lars von Trier’s Zentropa, Scandinavia’s biggest film production company. Here we met with Anders Kjærhauge, head of the legal department, to talk to him about the labour market instrument best translated as „intermediate labour market“ which offers help for people who fall out of the regular job market (e.g. immigrants with missing language skills or mothers who have stayed home not working for the last 18 years). Anders told us a little bit about how Zentropa makes use of this instrument … and we got to see where Lars and the others eat, relax and play music in between the shootings. So thanks for that! More

And here we go again … Hello Copenhagen!

And here we go again … Hello Copenhagen!

Pure Love for KPH

Pure Love for KPH

After we had already had the time to briefly check out Copenhagen during our trip to Sweden (see earlier posts), we now flew back with the distinct purpose to investigate the CCI scene in the Danish capital and had scheduled appointments with Anders Kjærhauge from Zentropa, Saga Wendén from Kreanord, Katrine Heje Larsen from KPH / KPH Volume, Mads Olsen from Effekt, Luise Noring Henler from CIEL, Lars Yannik Johanssen from Den sociale kapitalfond and Simon Caspersen from the Art Rebels. But, as the Öresund region really favours to-and-fro-trips, we also again crossed the Sund (this time not by train but by ferry!) to meet with Nils Djurklou from After Warhol in Helsingborg and with Sanna Lilje from KELA (and Selfmade). A packed week lay ahead of us and we were curious to see what would await us this time! So again, we’d like to thank all our interview partners very much for their time and all the inspiring insights!