NESTA report: Creating Innovation

6 January 2010

Encouraging linkages between the creative industries and the wider economy to spur innovation.

‘Do the creative industries support innovation in the wider economy?’ Again an interesting question NESTA asks itself, in this research conducted in cooperation with Experian and Oxford Brooks University. Much of the hurray atmosphere created around the creative industries is based on the growth the sector has shown as a part of larger national economies. And on the implication of innovation spurred by the creative industries. Indeed, ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ are often considered meaning the same thing. The Nesta research focuses on linkages between the creative industries and other industries and finds that these linkages do in fact seem to benefit innovation.

First a note on ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’; this report defines them neatly: “creativity is about the origination of new ideas –either new ways of looking at existing problems, or of seeing new opportunities-, while innovation is about the successful exploration of new ideas”. The creative industries can be seen as a pioneer sector of the economy, fostering an attitude towards creativity and innovation from which the rest of the economy can benefit. How effective this benefit is depends on whether ‘effective transmission effects are in place (Andari et al., 2007). For this we have to look beyond the common assumption that the creative industries are an avant garde of innovation-intensive high growth information services (Handke, 2006).

We’ll skip the part here about the extensive number crunching NESTA did, suffice to say they focus on the contacts between the creative and other industries, by measuring the UK input–output data (purchases of creative products and sales to creative industries). The main conclusion of the report is that linkages with the creative industries do indeed seem to support innovation. The implications of this being that policymakers should widen their focus, by not only supporting the creative industries for their own sake. Policy should encourage and embed linkages between the creative industries and the wider economy.

Author: Joanne van den Eijnden

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