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Report presented by Sylvia Amann and Dr. Bastian Lange
Introduced into Europe in the late 1990s, ‘creative industries’ is a term that encompasses a variety of cultural and creative professions commonly known as ‘cultural and creative sectors’. Based on comparative European reports, it is widely acknowledged that these sectors contribute considerably to economic growth and employment. Roughly speaking, 3% of the EU work force and 3.3 % of European GDP are generated from the creative industries.
The creative industries are mainly constituted of skilled entrepreneurs and employees individuals, as well as businesses taking advantage of the new opportunities created by the digital revolution. Their development is being driven by an increasing consumer demand for and spending on creative goods, services and leisure products. Some of their components – such as small entrepreneurial units (micro-enterprises) – need a creative eco-system and an accessible social as well as cultural environment (creative platforms or hubs that promote interaction as well as networking). For policymakers, meeting this need in order to fully unlock the potential of the creative sectors represents a constant challenge not least because there are special needs associated with these platforms and hubs, needs that include securing funding and the development of new place-based policies in cities and regions.
The major challenges for cultural and creative industries (CCI) policymakers include:
- The increasing need to develop methodologies to provide evidence-based policy
- New ‘place-based’ policies (i.e. that promote creative hubs) with strong self-financing mechanisms and local participation
- Systematically exploiting foreign market opportunities for local and regional CCI SMEs
- Broadening and intensifying spill-over effects from creative industries
- Further unlocking the potential of open innovation in and using creative industries
- Intensifying CCI good practice transfer and mainstreaming
The cluster of creative industries projects in INTERREG IVC is made up of fourteen projects involving 26 European countries and 166 regional and local bodies as project partners. The policy focus of the creative industries initiatives have become more and more specific as the INTERREG IVC programme has progressed, reflecting the continuous growth of the European knowledge base on creative industries.
For all CCI projects – with either a sector-specific or a transversal approach - the main trend in policy-making is to concentrate on activities that strengthen the economic base of creative industries. This, combined with spill-over approaches, is expected to remain the focus of policy-making in the next ten years. Socio-cultural concerns and hubs, on the other hand, are perceived as less relevant. Open innovation is an emerging policy tool that is of key interest to INTERREG IVC policymakers. Also of special interest are certain bottom-up initiatives of INTERREG IVC projects aimed at influencing European policies for creative industries as well as informing common CCI policy recommendations.
More than 270 good practices for CCI policy-making have been identified by the fourteen INTERREG IVC projects. These practices provide valuable insight into the key challenges for the development of creative industries in the 21st century. They provide answers on important issues such as how innovative tools can generate an evidence-base with regard to the added value of design in European companies. New social-cultural approaches demonstrate how the footprint of CCI policy on public budgets can be reduced. The INTERREG IVC data collections also include initiatives designed to promote internationalisation through interregional platforms of public authorities. This report provides insight into the transfer of CCI good practices and explains how EU structural funds are being used to support innovative initiatives for the creative industries.
The recommendations developed as part of the INTERREG IVC capitalisation exercise on creative industries includes targeted recommendations for ongoing interregional CCI projects as well as more general recommendations for all creative industries policymakers at regional, national and European levels.
As a more general concern, the different European initiatives for creative industries should really be merged, and common activities should be designed in cooperation with the European Creative Industries Alliance, the European Design Innovation Initiative, the OMC group on Creative Industries alongside the different capitalisation activities undertaken within INTERREG and URBACT II. This approach would be also of considerable benefit for the six ongoing INTERREG IVC CCI projects.
Regional authorities looking to develop or modernise their policy support to creative industries should consider the following key recommendations:
- Ensure a sound stakeholder process for the initial development and future updating of regional / local CCI policy. Given the complexity of the creative industries’ microsystem, external support to coordinate stakeholders is of added value.
- Investigate the entire potential of CCI for the territory concerned in order to identify the creative sectors with the greatest comparative advantages.
- Direct your regional policy approach at an existing good practice
- Take into account major current CCI policy foci and challenges identified by stakeholders and by EU CCI initiatives: innovation in and outside the creative industries, internationalisation of CCI SMEs and access to finance.
- Improve the evidence-base of CCI policies
- Address the internationalisation and export potential of the creative industries and make good use of the existing inter-regional platforms such as INTERREG IVC
- Socio-cultural hubs need to be incorporated in ‘modernised’ policies designed to create favourable framework conditions for creative entrepreneurs
- Encourage spill-over effects with a clear thematic focus based on a broad participatory framework
- Use open innovation approaches to encourage cross-sectoral exchange.
- Keep in mind that regional development can greatly benefit from the potential of generating innovation and from the spill-over effects from the CCIs. This could influence the availability of EU regional funds for the implementation of these policies.
- Be aware that a one-size-fits-all creative industries strategy does not exist and that related policies always have to be adapted to the local situation.
- When looking to transfer creative industries good practice examples to your territory, remember that success depends on a careful analysis of the local needs and on the creation of local ownership. Creating win-win situations for both the transferring and the receiving regions is recommended.
Recommendations targeted at policymakers at the European level include the need to enlarge the CCI knowledge base in a more coherent manner. Furthermore, national and regional authorities should find new ways to use integrated CCI policy approaches drawing on the different administrative traditions in the EU Members States. International benchmarking (outside Europe) will generally be a pre-condition for successful and sustainable CCI policy-making in the future.