Seminar 5: "Creative and Digital Economy: A New Fusion (II)"

14th May 2012 10:30am-5:00pm

Below is a summary of some key points raised at the above event on May 14 2012 at University of Wales, Newport, 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. This was the second in a series of 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 Processes

  • Identify exactly what the Catapult will do and what roles different players will play.
  • Need for sociological research on new cultures of innovation generated through cross sector work within the Catapult.
  • Collaboration works best when a concrete challenge or project is identified which all can focus on.
  • Human-centred processes are fundamental to digital economy transformations.  Inputs from diverse actors are needed to understand them.
  • Applied PhD studentships could be attached to the Catapult.
  • Importance of engaging young innovators, their ideas and approaches.
Innovation Challenges
  • Improve access to research and development that would drive innovation, and to markets.
  • Contribute to developing innovation friendly environments including through limiting bureaucratic and investment barriers.
  • Focus on the mobile economy and the expansion of established areas such as digital gaming into new sectors.
  • Varied organizations (profit and non-profit) are innovating online. How can their insights and possibilities be effectively harnessed and integrated?
  • Need to identify in specific terms different roles and functions of universities and their research and applied communities.
  • New synergies across graduate start ups, micro businesses, SMEs and large scale companies.
  • Investigate the potential of new areas such as crowd sourcing and funding.
  • Highlighting the possibilities for new online services and applications related to publicly available data.
  • New approaches to intellectual property and different kinds of value generated from it and associated with it.
  • Linking digital innovations to real world problems such as repurposing empty retail space temporarily or longer term as in The Great Big Empty Shop Experiment (
  • Exploring in key areas such as film the innovative potential in the social media age involved in: the blurring of ‘professional’and ‘non-professional’ boundaries; participatory, interactive and collaborative models of production; continuous online experience; multi-platform content; commissioning versus self-generated projects; diverse protocols for value and profit; exponential nature of online data and application possibilities; new models of finance and sustainability including crowd funding; implications of shifts to film on demand services on the web.
  • Tourism as a major area for digital development incorporating arts and museums sectors and other organizations at all levels and highlighting the new experiential economy through; synergies across profit and non-profit areas and actors; knowledge and artifacts-based apps and augmented reality; new paths to integrating the physical and virtual worlds; new approaches to the functions and roles of curation.
Catapult Strategies
  • With SMEs as major drivers of innovation there are grounds for channeling significant amounts of focus and support towards them.
  • Deliverability maintains the central role of major companies with track records.
  • Could the Catapult be a broker of generic/core technologies to make them openly available to fuel innovation?
  • Geographical clusters as well as clusters based on skill sets and innovative competencies and investment networks are important.
  • Avoid the problem of too heavy a focus on physical place and recognize the virtual potential of Catapult operations.
  • Catapult engagement and support could require elements of knowledge sharing through digital media from all involved.
Catapult Identity 
  • As a quality hub, focal point and champion for innovation nationally and globally.
  • To facilitate new innovative partnerships across the UK and the world. 
  • As a centre of open innovation, brokering, showcasing and dissemination of new technologies and business and service models (through its own online TV channel, for example).
  • Sharing best practices through networks and participatory media including in relation to open commons (hosting a Crowd Ideas website, for example).
  • As a network of networks making innovation clusters and linkages more visible and accessible to actors in the UK and globally.

See the programme of the day.

You can download the presentations by Gillian Youngs, Gillian Allard and Jeff Francis.