Creative industries at the centre of European policy Minimize

By Mette Koefoed Quinn, Team leader on Services Innovation, Support for Innovation Unit, DG Enterprise and Industry

I only recently entered into the discussions on creative industries and would therefore not consider myself a longstanding expert in this field. In DG Enterprise and Industry we discuss creative industries as part of innovation policy and, in particular, as part of services innovation. What has triggered our interest in creative industries? First of all, the sector is very innovative and has shown high growth over recent years. All experts agree that this sector has a huge potential for future innovation and growth. Secondly, the sector provides large spill-over effects into the rest of the economy which makes it of strategic importance.

We know that the creative industries are rather heterogeneous and represented by many sub-sectors. All of them are powered by creativity, and this is what unites them. We support the efforts to better define this sector, in order to better understand its economic impact and its specificities. A study under the Competitiveness Report, published annually by DG Enterprise and Industry, will look into these questions. With this, we will make another important step towards establishing creative industries as an industrial sector in its own right. This is important from a cultural point of view, and it will also help to better demonstrate how significant this sector is in terms of competitiveness, new jobs and growth.

To further support the development of creative industries in Europe, it is important to understand what the specificities of this sector are and which barriers still exist that hamper the transformation of creativity and new ideas into innovative products and services. One answer may be that the creative industries need to transform themselves and become more entrepreneurial and market-oriented. A second approach would be to facilitate more spill-over effects from creative industries into other industries.

The questions are now: Where is the European added value? How can we define an innovation strategy for the creative industries? I have worked with colleagues for some months on this and we now have an approach. We want to establish a "European Creative Industries Alliance" – a "Partnership" between those who believe in creative industries as a driver for competitiveness and job creation in their cities, regions or Member States and who are committed to bet on them for the future. We should support regional and national initiatives that are already ongoing or planned for the near future. It is not our intention to work directly with companies and the arts. We know that a number of new initiatives - like Creative Growth - have been launched in recent years. At the moment, there is not much connection between these and a lot of knowledge in this area is fragmented.

How will we achieve the objectives? We expect to launch this new initiative through a call for proposals under the CIP in December 2010. I am sure that behind the scenes many discussions are already taking place on who will take the lead on what. If you are interested in this initiative, don’t miss the train. This is an open, but nevertheless competitive process. We are looking for smart partners that are committed to take leadership of the different work packages. Follow carefully the current discussions such as through the "Amsterdam Declaration" that was adopted by the participants of a workshop we held in Amsterdam in February.

There is still a need to prepare the initiative in detail. The Commission’s Green Paper: "Unlocking the potential of the cultural and creative industries", which was published recently, will allow us to better identify the specific needs of the sector and to take them into account. Therefore, please contribute to the public consultation. It is open until 31 July.

Last year was the Year of Creativity and Innovation. That was the time to recognise creative industries as an important sector. In 2010 we wish to go further. This will be your year: the year to better understand how to shape the future. It is my hope that 2011 will become the year of actions in support of creative industries!

Our ambition is to move from talking to walking, from networking to partnering and from analysis to real impact and practical results. I hope that we will walk this road together.

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Please sign up here to recieve a notification when the next issue is released.

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