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!
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.
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 (email@example.com)
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:
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
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
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.
From 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.
The last months were pretty turbulent for us and we are still working on documenting the different events for you to read about them here on our blog: After the barcamp in early September, we immediately began working on our booksprint, travelled to Copenhagen for CKO‘s and InVio‘s international day of innovation concentrating on cross innovation and contributed with a presentation on C2C’s first findings in this field. We also held the second meeting of our advisory board in Potsdam to discuss the relevance of our research findings and the findings from the barcamp and hosted a workshop for discussing the possibilities of developing a new format for cross innovation, collaboration and knowledge transfer between local companies and universities in Brandenburg.
Next Monday, we will be in Vigevano, Italy, for our third expert round table meeting. This time, the topic is: “Cross Innovation – which potentials lie at the intersection between arts, creativity and business?”. We have invited experts on the field from all involved regions and countries and will discuss the first results from Prof. Giovanni Schiuma’s study on the topic and try to identify further challenges, potentials and possible trends.
Right after this meeting, we will travel further South to Bologna, to meet with our booksprint authors Emma Estborn (Media Evolution, Sweden), Giorgia Boldrini (Business Department, Commune di Bologna, Italy), Steinar Valade-Amland (ThreePointZero, Denmark) and Carsten Busch (Institute for brand communication, Germany) for a whole day of working on finalizing the chapters of the booksprint. The Booksprint is one of the core elements of our project: it is a collaborative way of writing a book. Usually, authors are invited to contribute a chapter from their respective field of specialization to a publication until a certain deadline. With the Booksprint format, we made this process a collaborative one: the authors were not only asked to contribute with their expertise but to also engage in a weekly exchange about their chapters, identify similarities, comment on the chapters of the other authors and thus developing their texts further through this collaborative method.
The chapters of the final publication as the result of the Booksprint will focus on various dimensions of creative industries (support): Emma Estborn focuses on the importance and impact of collaboration. Steinar Valade-Amland analyses design history and puts design in an value chain perspective. Georgia Boldrini from Bologna in Italy describes her experiences how the introduction of business support instruments for cultural and creative entrepreneurs has shaped both the image of the artists as well as the relationship between cultural funding and business support. Gamification and digitization is the topic of Carsten Busch focussing on the broad application fields of games in companies and education. Carsten Becker puts creative industries in the perspective of innovation and describes their role as innovator and innovation driver. Finally, out board chairman Dirk Kiefer reconsiders the right mix of business support instruments for the creative industries.
Finally, on the 7th of November, we will be in Cottbus to contribute to the final conference of the EU project “Urban Creative Poles” with our insights on creative industries support in small and middle-sized cities with examples from Italy and Sweden.
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?
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.
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 …
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: firstname.lastname@example.org