Seminar 4: "Creative and Digital Economy: A New Fusion (I)"

30th Mar 2012 1:00pm-5:00pm

Below is a summary of some key points raised at the above event on March 30 2012 held to feed into debates about the agenda for the Technology Strategy Board’s recently announced Connected Digital Economy Catapult (CDEC). Participants at the working seminar included academic researchers, creative and digital practitioners, businesses and policy makers. This summary has been prepared by Prof. Gillian Youngs, University of Wales, Newport, who co-organized the event with Frank Boyd, of the TSB Creative Industries KTN, and David Dowe, of the TSB ICT KTN. The following points among others will be developed at future related events which are a joint initiative of the Creative Industries and ICT KTNs and the ESRC research seminar series on Digital Policy currently led by Prof. Youngs. Please feel free to distribute these notes to your networks.

Catapult Agenda

  • Need to identify in the early stages key challenges the centre will focus on. Purpose is intrinsic to this process – what are the goals and paths to successful achievement of them? How is the Technology Strategy Board defining success for the centre? Impact on society should be core to the centre and its agenda setting. 
  • Businesses want ideas and can define problems which can be tackled by the centre. 
  • Agility will be vital so that the centre can respond to the fast pace of change and opportunities and pivot to switch focus where that would be productive. 
  • An opportunities model includes space where new kinds of collaborative work and pilot testing can be undertaken. 
  • Focus on new methodologies for collaborations across ICT and creative specialisms and expert languages will be important. 
  • A research programme for creative industries and ICT, including emphasis on applications, should be part of the agenda. 
  • Identifying the UK’s competitive advantages in creative and digital economy in specific terms will be important. 

Investing in Innovation 

  • Who sets the limits – investors, customers, creatives? 
  • Scaling up remains a problem. While one or two stages of venture capital are common, investment to scale up to the next level remains a challenge. Commercialization and the recognition of tipping points relevant to it is part of this picture. 
  • Much is yet to be discovered about where innovation comes from in the new digital economy. The accessibility of online technologies means we should not assume we know who the technology people are. New conversations across business, community members, institutional players and digital and creative experts are needed. 
  • Generational issues are paramount with increasingly younger people at the cutting edge of digital technologies. New ways to engage and support young innovators in the centre’s processes will be important. 
  • Innovative networks are linked to places where individuals and businesses cluster to create a stimulating environment. 

Creative and Digital Economy 

  • Useful to think in terms of deepening synthesis of creative and digital skills and approaches – ‘creative algorithms’ and ‘artist coders’. 
  • Interpretive innovation recognizes the diverse input of arts and creative sectors. 
  • More work is needed on identifying the roots of different kinds of creativity. Creative paths are varied and include ideas followed by application. How do you transform the arts into the digital? This is one interesting question. 
  • Curating is undergoing re-evaluation in the social media age where volumes of film, photographic and text content are growing all the time. One area for new models of innovation and value generation. 

Knowledge Exchange 

  • Interdisciplinary cultures in the university sector are mixed with perhaps strengths in particular across creative and arts subjects and new challenges across social science and other subject areas.
  • The centre should include a major focus on training the next generation and providing new kinds of transdisciplinary environments to fuel innovation. 
  • More thinking would be useful on the nature of the Internet as public space and the potential for social innovation and change. Includes thinking about aesthetics and ethics.
  • Traditional constraints around thinking about art and culture need to be critically addressed to revision them in digital contexts, including to harness new forms of innovation and value generation