It is no secret that the resources and potentials of rural regions in Brandenburg (and elsewhere) differ substantially from those of urban and metropolitan areas: Rural areas are structurally weak and suffer form demographic change and the migration of large parts of their population towards economically more attractive regions.
On the other side, rural areas offer numerous natural resources and regionally rooted companies which allows for completely distinct approaches.
One indispensable precondition for the development of such approaches is a functioning network for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and practices.
As C2C is not only a research project but also aims at testing (and developing) formats, which could be suitable for Brandenburg, we set out – against the previously described backdrop of challenges and potentials – to develop a model for strengthening the regional economy and innovative strength, through connecting local companies and universities, their know-how, resources and technologies within the framework of very hands-on formats for research and development.
As the model served the open source project Grüne Werkstatt Wendland, based in the very rural western-German region called Wendland, mostly famous for the anti-nuclear protest movement (read more in this earlier blogpost or go directly to their website).
At the core of the whole concept lies the so-called local „Projektbörse“, a kind of project pool containing unsolved problems, undeveloped ideas and the like which are fed into the pool by the companies for students from different disciplines (such as e.g. design, engineering, cultural tourism and the like) and different regions to be worked on in close collaboration with the companies.
The connection of the universities and the oftentimes unidentified know-how of the local companies harbors the great potential of being able to refine existing business models and products in an innovative way, to test approaches which have not yet been taken into consideration and to identify focal points, which are content-wise and technologically new.
This attempt shall be pursued beyond the borders of the individual regions of Brandenburg, building a network to which each university and business location can contribute with their own individual knowhow and competencies – the network of the „Creative regions Brandenburg“.
In addition to the “Projektbörse” we also discussed the following formats:
interdisciplinary project weeks
cross-sectoral innovation camps involving different universities
an open and very practical format involving vocational colleges and similar educational institutions
a temporary regional display window
a creative business competition with jury and prize, e.g. a creative business cup
Workshop situation 1
Workshop situation 2
Our guests discussed each format with regards to their own experience in the field, the resources and contact at their disposal and developed some of the ideas further.
Of special interest were the questions as to which university disciplines to involve and on how to start (involve the whole “Land” or start with a smaller group of one or two pilot regions).
The participants also agreed that the building upon already existing structures and involving already active players in the regions would be key.
They discussed if yet another competition was necessary and how this format could maybe be developed further in order to create something new and unique which stands out against the other existing competitions and really helps the winners. For example it might be useful if the winners would not receive a prize but the support for realizing the idea for which they submitted a concept.
Workshop situation 3
The participants also developed the temporary regional display from something nonmotile to an interactive and mobile format with potential for involving the local population and creating a real buzz in the media and visibility for the whole region.
A working group was not formed out of the meeting, but the individual participants are already discussing next steps. We will try to keep track of the developments ans write about them here …
The aim of our Barcamp was: on one hand to discuss the relevance of the project’s research findings with creative industries project and programme managers from Sweden, Italy and Denmark and on the other hand to provide a fertile and open ground for exchange in order to create new knowledge, to extend our focus and to initiate a small European network ourselves. In order to achieve this, we “betrayed” the Barcamp method and set a couple of topics that seemed relevant from our perspective for future creative industries support.
Here, we now provide the full documentation in digestible PDF pieces:
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.
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.
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.
Inside the Artlab
A tour of the Artlab
Ask the Artlab!
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)
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:
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.
Workshop (Group 1)
Workshop (Group 1)
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
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 …
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,
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).
The proposed initiatives
Workshop (Group 2)
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!
“The cultural and creative industries in the macroeconomic value added chain”, study made by Prognos for the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. German short version and English version
On thursday, 25th of April, we gathered at the Kultur Skåne building in Malmö’s Western harbour district for our first expert round table meeting on digitization in the creative industries. In order to gain a pan-European perspective on the matter, we had invited our partners from Denmark, Sweden and Italy, along with some other experts we met during our research trips.
Round Table 1
The basis of our discussion was the report presented by our partner Klas Rabe from swedish Tillväxtverket, which presented digitization as a growth potential for the CCI in general as it both changes business models and creates new products, new service patterns and new conceptual solutions.
According to the study, CCI companies are drivers of this trend (not “only affected” by it) and can contribute content and value creation for their long-term competitiveness, as there has been a change in global value chains to which SMEs, especially within the CCI, contribute significantly. Digitization thus gave birth to a a new type of CCI startups that are “born global”, small companies working together with other small companies in networks.
Of course, the sub-sectors react differently to this trend. The music industry has – after severe problems – recovered and notes significant growth in general today (think of the spotify success story, for example). And the sales for Swedish game developers nearly doubled in 2011 compared to the numbers of 2010. In the performance arts industry, digitization is used for the creation of new models of dissemination and new solutions for their shows in which digitization becomes part of the artistic production. The design sector is developing digital design as well as new ways to communicate with users through social media. In a survey by the Swedish Engineering Industries Association in 2011, it is shown that companies who invest in design, are up to 50% more profitable than those who do not. Very front-end in all this is, by the way, the cultural heritage sector, which adopts the possibilities of digitization very open-heartedly, e.g. in exhibitions but also for preservation and archiving.
Interlinked effects of digitization that affect all sectors are:
Availability: Digitization contributes to an increased availability of culture: more people can access and exercise more culture.
From consumption to participation through the blurring of the traditional boundaries between cultural consumption and production, made possible by technological developments and the creation of new media.
Production: More blending of media than before.
Cooperation: the new interdisciplinary methods of production bring together people and professionals from different sub-sectors. Think for example about the development of a computer game: It requires the cooperation of screenwriters, musicians, designers, programmers and engineers.
Communication and co-working: teams who are physically apart can still co-work on one and the same project through the use of new media; and teams and companies who don’t necessarily work on the same project still choose to share a common work space as they feel that this setting benefits their work. Here the driving forces are not purely economic but mainly driven by people’s needs and preferences on their work life surroundings.
Traffic and defense turn to computer games industries for their tools on simulating and other effects.
Scientific data and results communication through visualization → can then in turn be used for architecture, design and media development for example (one example for that is the micro-level material research in Lund)
Problems and challenges which accompany the trend and which need to be investigated into further, are for example access to finance (as many new solutions don’t fit into the typical funding categories), or the already largely debated upon issue of intellectual property rights (as the digital development will present significant challenges for existing and new entrants regarding future cost and price models and thus business revenues related to intellectual property rights.) One specific major challenge identified by Tillväxtverket is getting the public players to know and understand service innovation in the area, and the needs of the respective target groups, for a flexible approach to shape effective development efforts. The public workers need to develop skills in areas such as technology, communications, statistics and law. Government agencies and national organizations need to strengthen the monitoring of developments in this field, and take notice of common challenges and coordinate their different solutions.
Another important action would be to enhance the cooperation of public workers with external professionals and specialists from within the CCI, who know about the needs and interests of CCI entrepreneurs. This would in return improve and accelerate digital audience development. In general it can be said, that the entire innovation and business support system will need to gain additional skills in order to keep track with the development, as the current schemes are not yet adapted to the needs of the new businesses.
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).
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
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.
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”.