Creative Failure – cr8net 2012 April 26, 2012Posted by Oli in Creative Industries, Creativity, Culture, DCMS, Innovation.
Tags: Creative Industries
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Failure is a dirty word. Business leaders won’t stand for it, politicians try to hide it and generally, it’s seen as something to avoid. But it seems, given the talks and discussions today at #cr8net hosted by CIDA, it is essential for creativity. The stories of how creativity has escaped the shackles of prescribed education via playful experimentation with software, and how networking with everyone who will throw a business card at you is critical to success, they sum up the rhetoric of the creative industries for the last 15 years or so. But is failure such a critical part of what constitutes creativity? Does allowing for experiments to fail really aid creative businesses? Or is it more the will to take a creative idea and putting it into practice in a meaningful way?
Cross-discipline creativity and Steve Jobs October 6, 2011Posted by Oli in Creative Industries, Creativity, Disciplines, Innovation.
Tags: Creativity, Google, Innovation, Steve Jobs
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It is perhaps with a little bit of poetic justice that I saw Mark Brittin of Google speak at MediaCityUK two days before Steve Jobs passed away – the message Mark gave was one that Steve had been actively living and preaching pretty much his whole adult life. I’m not going to eulogize about Apple and Jobs here, there are plenty of other blog posts today that will do that (here’s a particularly good one). Instead, I wanted to talk about what that message was, namely the importance of diverse inter-disciplinarity for creativity and innovation.
Creative Exchange(s) June 1, 2011Posted by Oli in Creative Industries, Freelancers, Innovation.
Tags: Creative Industries
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Having just given a keynote talk at the Creative Exchange (slides above, or if you’re browser isn’t letting you see them, click here), it has been a genuinely invigorating experience to talk to and get feedback from creative industry businesses, entrepreneurs and freelance workers. The talks and Q&A sessions all had stimulating content with tangible repercussions for how creative industry business can collaborate, access finance and reach their audience (whoever that may be). You can relive the day through the twitter stream, #CE11.
Politics of Creativity or Creative Politics? June 22, 2010Posted by Oli in Creative Industries, DCMS, Innovation.
Tags: Creative Industries
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It’s taken a bit of time for the dust to settle on the coalition government and already we are seeing them attempting to tackle the chronic economic malaise that we currently suffering from. Public sector cuts seem to be high on the agenda and within that we have already seen the abolishment of major planned cultural projects, such as the £45 million pledge to the BFI; wider cuts throughout the DCMS have also been outlined. Perhaps of more relevance to the policies surrounding the creative industries is this:
So, what does ‘reviewed and rebuilt’ mean? Clues may have been given to us in Jeremy Hunt’s first speech as Culture Minister. The term ‘creative industries’ has not been completely stripped out of the political rhetoric, but it seems that the cohesiveness that they once purported is ebbing away in favour of a more digitally-orientated taxonomy, one which focuses on infrastructure and local provisioning of content. Since those infamous Mapping Documents of 1998 and 2001, there has been a great deal of debate. This seminar at the Open University a couple of years ago, for me, epitomised these debates, with Jon Newbigin’s talk in particular noting the political drive behind the ‘coalition’ of the creative industries concept (look out for a question by me to Prof. Pratt about 1 hour 5 mins in).
It seems that the 00s was the honeymoon period of the creative industries as a functional concept. I often argued that the ‘siloization’ of the creative industries into subsectors was a vacuous exercise, an attempt to justify the spending on the various councils that exist. But now, it seems that as there is an emphasis now on the delivery of content rather than the production of it, the new government is formulating a politics of individual creativity and the delivery thereof, rather than attempting to herd companies and people together in attempt to statistically justify their spending. This is a positive move. Creative industry activity has always been two or three steps ahead of any policies designed to encourage them, and their mixing of production techniques, their sharing of individuals and their cross-pollination of ideologies, has belied constant labelling and typologies. Now, with a focus on supporting the platforms for this mixing; the more rapid delivery of the content; and the room for innovation; and most importantly a policy for a digital, not analog age; this can only catalyse the productivity of the sector, and provide the financial rewards that the creative industry companies rightly deserve. It would be interesting now to see if any of this is recognised in today’s budget….
Technologies, Local Governance and Community Informatics February 27, 2009Posted by Oli in Community Engagement, Community Informatics, Creative Industries, Innovation.
Tags: Community Engagement, Digital Britain, Local Politics
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The global economic downturn has forced us all to re-evaluate our economic, social and personal assets. A panacea that is often heralded for the general community malaise that is a consequence of the global crisis is community engagement and increased civil participation. This can take many forms, however a key arena is local politics.
The UK government is trying to encourage local people to engage with their local governments in order provide solutions tenable to the local situation. The release of a decentralisation Green Paper by the Conservatives ‘Control Shift‘, released in February 2009, which stated the aim was to give more power to local councils and people, echoed many of the sentiments of the less recent (July 2008) white paper by Government’s Communities and Local Government department (CLG) ‘Communities in control: real people, real power‘, which signaled the governments commitment to “shift[ing] power… away from existing centres [and] into the hands of communities and individual citizens” (CLG report, 2008: page 1).
These reports/papers are a timely contribution as there has been research which suggests that 63 per cent of local residents do not feel they have any influence is decisions made by local councils and governments, and more generally, only one third of people vote in local elections. So there is a distinct sense of apathy which is a barrier that needs to be addressed if the goals in the white paper are to be achieved. That said, community involvement has always been part of the ethos of local government. Councils and boroughs have often engaged with local residents in innovate ways in order to gain their opinions/help in their administrative and bureaucratic processes. From the improvement of services, influencing important budgetary and regeneration issues to running local services; there are a number of ways in which the council can engage with local people. For example, councils already have an obligation to involve their community through the ‘Statements of Community Involvement and Planning Application‘ procedures required for all planning documents. So, there is a sense that the recent white paper(s) is(are being) aimed at building on existing processes by local governments as well as stimulating a fresh impetus, yet there is huge room for improvement.
Because in parallel to this, the increased technological participatory powers of citizens through the Internet and Web 2.0 techniques, has meant that the technological barriers to entry for community or civil engagement have been lowered, and the uptake of information from a variety of sources has intensified. Governments across the world and at various levels (federal, national, state level, local and district) have started to embrace this technology to further their reach and to encourage feedback and participation.
Hence, while the perceived apathy of community engagement in local government decisions is therefore one considerable barrier to entry for some people, techniques such as open-sourced websites, blogs, wikis are all facilitating the way in which information can be fed back from residents to governments, and are relatively inexpensive to implement; shortening the distance between decisions of the collective and the results of those decisions. We have already seen how Web 2.0 techniques were used strategically by Barack Obama’s campaign in the presidential victory of 2008, and now the White House has a specific technological ‘new media’ director to aid in its Web 2.0 capacity.
However, as yet, there is still very much a digital divide in the UK with 26 per cent of the UK population unable to receive a digital broadband connection. Lord Carter said in a recent NESTA speech that he wanted a minimum of 2mbps for all homes in the UK, however this has been criticized as not being enough for modern day Internet usage. And at any rate, if the research by Point Topic is anything to go by, then there is still a lot of work to do (particularly in Northern Ireland). Charles Leadbetter has questioned the effectiveness of this policy on the growth of the creative industry sector by suggested that the increase of broadband to the population will only serve to increase user-generated content and therefore decrease the market share/penetration of large media corporations and perhaps stifle the growth of the industry. This may be true, but in terms of creating a platform for local voices to effect local government then this policy is a must. Community Informatics is a burgeoning discipline, but it seems to tie in with the processes of increased technological capabilities of civil society in effecting local policies and change, particularly for disempowered or marginalised (socially, economically and geographically) communities – with the recent papers by the government and its shadow have argued for.
So, it is important to question Lord Carter’s proposal as being too narrow or not enough for the needs of modern creative industries in the UK (which as we are being reminded are the panacea for the world’s current economic turmoil). However, by increasing local engagement with local governance, the broadband roll out, however small in terms of badnwidth, could be crucial as it seems to be a genuine and achievable option. Both the government and the conservatives have said they want to ‘decentralise’ power, so for all that entails, a digital Britain is crucial.