Tag Archives: innovation

Business Model Canvas

Whilst preparing my teaching and reviewing my notes about the Business Model Canvas, I came across this article by Sam Mitchell in Arts Professional, in which he discusses business models and how digital developments can support innovation in arts organizations. The examples he cites include a range of initiatives including accessing new audiences as well as projects supporting cultural workers. At the heart of his argument is the notion that reviewing the business model is key to an arts organization’s sustainability and that digital developments can offer some potential solutions.

But what is a business model? Is it just about finding new ways of making money?

Continue reading Business Model Canvas

Beyond the Campus

What role does Higher Education play in creating platforms, spaces and networks for creative arts and the creative industries? This question was the topic for the third workshop in a series of events, Beyond the Campus organised by Dr Roberta Comunian and Dr Abigail Gilmore and hosted by my colleague Dr Paul Long on Wednesday 6th November 2013.

The workshop focused on collaborations, networks and spaces shared by creative industries and higher education exploring both formal arrangements and practices as well as informal  networks and shared activities. Different spaces and networks were discussed including a keynote talk from Sebastian Olma challenging us to re-think the nature of work and the environments conducive to current working practices. Olma’s work is based on his study of serendipity as a crucial ingredient in innovative and entrepreneurial models of work, discussed previously in this blog.

My own contribution was a study of Birmingham’s creative milieu and how it can act as a space for students in ‘becoming’ a creative industries professional.  My research suggests that an opportunity to interact with the local creative industries community can offer an environment for experimentation in preparing for the realities of creative industries work.

I argue that by engaging in a creative industries milieu, characterized by its networks, relationships, key individuals and spaces (on and offline), students experience the realities of cultural work. Some students contribute to the local dynamic, establishing relationships which last well beyond their studies. But the process of immersing oneself requires cultural and social capital, and, as a student, is by no means easy. The research highlights some of the challenges through my interviews with international students and networks such as Birmingham’s Social Media Cafe. I suggest that a focus on encouraging interaction to explore the realities of creative work leaves little room for contesting or disrupting the status quo. A lack of critical reflection could be dangerous for creative industries students entering what is often described by academics as insecure and precarious work.

I hope that as part of the Beyond the Campus research, some of these challenges will be further developed.

My presentation slides:

The Entrepreneurial State


I was interested to read about Mariana Mazzucato’s book, The Entrepreneurial State which looks at the role of the public sector in entrepreneurship. Of course, the public sector tends to be looked upon as the opposite of entrepreneurial and is much criticised for this (see Du Gay’s Organising Identity which touches on this subject). Mazzucato argues that in many cases, the innovations at the heart of many entrepreneurial companies, were often developed through publicly funded research. In a recent article in Public Finance International, she states:

But what if the image we are constantly fed – of a dynamic business sector contrasted with a necessary but sluggish bureaucratic, often ‘meddling’, state – is completely wrong?

What if the revolutionary, most radical, changes in capitalism came not from the invisible hand of the market but the very visible hand of the state?

According to Mazzucato, many technological innovations behind products such as the Iphone, GPS, touchscreen etc. were government funded. So rather than a ‘meddling’ state, she presents The Entrepreneurial State.

This position reminded me of a chapter by Anne De Bruin, Entrepreneurship in The Creative Industries, who writes about how various levels of entrepreneurship have enabled innovation in New Zealand”s the film industry. De Bruin states that the New Zealand government developed policies with the Screen Production Industry to grow the sector through funding opportunities and public and private partnerships. Similarly to Mazzucato, De Bruin explains that:

Typically, entrepreneurial focus has been on the individual and the firm. Recent research, however, has pointed to the need to consider the external context or a creative milieu as being of importance to innovation (see, for example, Kresl and Singh, 1999; Porter and Stern, 2001)…The strategic state is a key driver of innovation in the national economy and is seen as a catalyst in the creation of favourable systemic conditions for knowledge creation and an important actor within the National Innovation Systems framework and regional systems of innovation.

While De Bruin recognises Peter Jackson’s (Lord of the Rings) contribution as a film maker and entrepreneur, she presents his success and that of the New Zealand film industry as a partnership in which risk taking and entrepreneurial characteristics are applied at multiple levels.

Innovative and Collaborative

‘Innovative and Collaborative’ is how I would describe Lauren Davies. As a project manager within the arts and cultural sector, she seems to thrive on a challenge!

Lauren presented to our media and creative enterprise students this week. She described her business, Red Lantern, and various innovative and entrepreneurial projects she has initiated. Continue reading Innovative and Collaborative