Creative Industries In Cross-Sectoral Interactions

The Nido, A community crib hosted inside the Museum of Art in Bologna

Simone D'Antonio

By Simone D'Antonio, on April 11th, 2014

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How can a whole city be involved around the relationship between creativity and entrepreneurship? Philippe Kern, lead expert of the project, founder and managing director of KEA, shared his views on creative industries and fostering creative ecosystems in cities with Simone D’Antonio, Cittalia, during a Creative SpIN project study visit in Bologna.

How Are Creative Industries Currently Contributing To Urban Growth In Europe?

In a context of deep economic crisis, cities need to develop innovative solutions to regain competitiveness and attractiveness. Cultural and creative industries (CCIs), from design, fashion, performing arts, cinema, animation, architecture, video games, music or food, have a key role to play in providing cities with new ideas and dynamise their territories. CCIs are contributing to image and branding strategies, to the revitalisation of peripheral areas as well as to the creation of knowledge-intensive careers, thus contributing to urban development, social cohesion, better quality of life, tourism, innovative jobs and new investments. Cultural offerings or good quality food are in particular key factors to retain and attract talented people as they create attractive living, entertaining and learning conditions. Talents (designers, artists, architects, …) need to evolve in a place that stimulate their imagination and favors creative social interactions and where risk taking and creative boldness is promoted.

Allow Cross-Sectoral Interactions

The big challenge today is to better connect CCIs to other sectors of the economy with a view to transfer creative skills and develop new forms of innovation. Until recently, the two essential parameters of competition were price and technology. Today, competition triggers, in addition to techno-economic knowledge, the need for increased quality and differentiation to gain a competitive edge. What increasingly matters, and constitutes a distinctive competition parameter, lies in the immaterial dimension generated by creative people, skills, ideas and processes. A firm needs more than an efficient manufacturing process and a good technological base. It also needs the development of products and services that meet consumers’ expectations or that create this expectation.

CCIs can thus best contribute to urban growth as long as cities are able to attract and retain creative professionals and allow cross-sectoral interactions with traditional economic branches.

Local Authorities Are Best Placed To Establish Creative Ecosystems

Cities are the places where innovation has historically happened. There no innovation without creativity. The spatial dimension and the interactions generated on a limited territory are crucial for creativity to emerge and contribute to the economy. A global creative economy does not mean that we transcend the limits of time and space. Quite to the contrary, if creativity has to be developed different elements (talents, support infrastructures, creative hubs, high quality education, etc.) need to be combined at the scale of a limited territory.

Local authorities are thus the best placed to establish creative ecosystems unleashing the innovative potential of cultural and creative industries. They know very well cultural and creative players established in their area. At the same time, they are in a privileged position to mobilise companies and entrepreneurs in traditional fields of the economy. A virtuous circle can then be nurtured, because creative people concentrated on a territory can create synergies and fruitful collaborations, thereby fostering further creativity. Creative spaces, interactive working methods, interdisciplinary education, clusters or cross-sectoral mediators can be some of the tools used to favor unconventional encounters and stimulate experimental collaboration leading to culture-led innovation.

Focus Innovative Potential On Sectors Most Crucial Locally

Ready-made solutions are not advisable. For sure, placing CCIs in the context of innovation policies is an important step towards strengthening the dynamism of the cultural and entrepreneurial sector. Specific elements and solutions should however be designed and developed according to the specific history and characteristics of cities. These may want to focus the innovative potential of CCIs on sectors that are considered crucial for the local economy. This is for instance the case of Creative SpIN’s partners, each one focusing on a specific field of interest (tourism, manufacturing, ICT, urban development/energy or public health).

How Do Creative SpIN Cities Learn From Each Other?

Creative SpIN gathers very different cities but they all share a strong (political) willingness to unleash CCIs’ potential as a source of innovation and socioeconomic development. At the same time, experimenting new tools and methods to facilitate creative spillovers from CCIs to other sectors of the economy is something pretty new for everybody. Through this project, partner cities have the opportunity to experiment innovative processes in their specific local contexts and exchange their experience, challenges and learning points at transnational meetings, like the one organised in Bologna. Willingness to experiment, openness and international exchange are key elements leading Creative SpIN’s learning process.

In Bologna, I was impressed by the commitment expressed by the local Mayor Virginio Merola, the Deputy Mayor for Education of the Region Patrizio Bianchi as well as by the Dean of the University of Bologna Ivano Dionigi in their willingness to support culture and creativity as a tool of urban development. I was also pleased by the rich programme of events and activities organised by the Bologna City Council, including new group discussion methods (e.g. the “De Bono Thinking Hats” used to stimulate an interactive and participative talk on the Bologna’s Local Action Plan) and a meeting with creative entrepreneurs supported by the Incredibol project. This is certainly an interesting initiative enabling the city to retain creative talents and support the emergence of a creative economy.

by Simone d’Antonio

One Response to “Creative Industries In Cross-Sectoral Interactions”

  1. martinallen says:

    The creative industries – which include Design, Fashion, Architecture, Information Technology, Visual and Performing Arts, New Media, Publishing and Film – are at the crossroads of the arts, culture, business and technology.

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