Creative Industries Federation shares psychological boost for the UK’s Creative Industries.

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Well, Theresa May has one priority right.
“Monday’s announcement by Prime Minister Theresa May that the creative industries would be one of five named sectors in the new industrial strategy was a major step forward for a sector which has never been formally recognised in a national industrial strategy before. Only six years ago at the start of the coalition government, the creative industries were not formally acknowledged when it announced nine sectors of industrial engagement.”  (Source: Creative Industries Federation)
  • The government has launched a Green Paper/consultation giving a blueprint for a national industrial strategy.
  • Five sectors, including the creative industries, were named in the consultation as having ‘sector deals’.
  • Exactly how government support for chosen sectors will be offered is dependent on the result of the consultation process, although the key mechanisms for support are given in the 10 pillars explored below.
  • In order to attain its three goals, the government has identified 10 pillars that each sector deal should focus on. These are:
    • investment in science, research and innovation
    • developing skills
    • upgrading infrastructure
    • supporting businesses to start and grow
    • improving procurement
    • encouraging trade and inward investment
    • delivering affordable energy and clean growth
    • cultivating world-leading sectors
    • driving growth across the whole country
    • creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places. (Like Creative Edinburgh)
As the CIF states in its recent circular, not only is this a growing sector (as we have known for several years) but jobs cannot be automated.  Although I’m sure there are plenty of people trying to find a way.
Here’s a couple of efforts to prove my point.
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In Scotland we have been blessed to have a long term appointment in Culture, Tourism and External Affairs in the shape of the enthusiastic and understanding Fiona Hyslop so maybe things are looking up for the sector.
The point is the sector includes not just corporate businesses like design, advertising, film and architecture but also hundreds of thousands of start ups, SMEs and increasingly overlaps with the rapidly growing tech sector.
My role as Chair of Creative Edinburgh is to support our Director Janine Matheson and her team, alongside our enthusiastic board in realising the ambitions of this ‘new deal’ by creating a thriving and increasingly vocal network of exactly those businesses in Edinburgh that can benefit from the strategy.
We are deeply grateful to our funders and sponsors who have made this possible so far, and this initiative can be a positive step forward for a city that can benefit more than most from both Holyrood and Westminster recognition and support.

Creative Edinburgh is Five. Help us get to Fifty.

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Olaf Furness picking up his Creative Edinburgh Award from a chap in an ill fitting suit.

I’ve been in the Chair at Creative Edinburgh for four years in which time we have grown our membership from virtually zero to over 2,300.

It’s a uniquely aggregated network of everyone from jewellery-makers to promoters, to designers to accountants to film producers and pretty much everything in between.

If it has done one thing only it has exploded the myth that networking is boring, scary and a waste of time.

It has created hundreds of commissions, collaborations and friendships and it has created an energy that is rarely (I actually mean never but I don’t have empiric evidence to prove that…yet) experienced in the professional workplace.

We represent the Creative Industries on an economic development ticket. So we’re not an arts organisation, we’re a membership group that invests time and energy into mentoring, matchmaking, sharing knowledge and space and time and experience with our members; young and old.

I like to think of us as “Edinburgh’s Creative Oxygen.”

We don’t sneer at students. We welcome them. Not in a token way, we embrace them.

We don’t see our older members (like me) as past it. We see them as wise and connected.

And useful.

One, two and three person businesses, and freelancers, are manifold in our membership. That’s because Scotland is a nation of SME’s and self employed.

It’s what Scotland is and the sooner we recognise that and accept that the emerging economy is based precisely on that business model, the better.

But we also welcome and enjoy the experiences of our larger member organisations.

We even go out and train some of Scotland’s largest corporations.

But we rely on knowledge, passion and commitment to survive and thrive.

We’re at a crossroads in our development. We want to march on but we need help.

We need knowledge too.

That knowledge will come from an important member survey (that non-members can fill in too). You know me (you’re connected to me after all).

Please, take 15 minutes out to fill in this nicely designed questionnaire. (FYI, it’s been created in a great new tool that competes with Survey Monkey called Typeform and is rather good.)

Thank you my friend. It means a lot to me.

https://creativeedinburgh.typeform.com/to/XcSv9a

The end of my first decade of Thinking Hard? No, the start of my second!

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Ten years ago I sat at my desk looking out onto Ashburnham Loan without a single client.  I’d walked away from my job as CEO of a Stock Market listed communications group.  Just like three years earlier I had walked away from my role as MD of my own advertising agency (50 strong and highly regarded).

Why had I done this?

(After all, to lose one senior level role is unfortunate, to lose two is downright carelessness.)

But I hadn’t lost either of them.

I’d elected to change my viewpoint on work.  To get out of the hamster’s wheel of eternal financial year ends, HR responsibilities, client bum sucking, to keep the corporate machine rolling on when I didn’t always respect all of the clients or all of the work my team was doing for them.

And that’s actually the crux of it. “the work my team was doing for them“.

I, personally, wasn’t actually a net contributor to anything that came out of either of those agencies.

I was simply a manager, albeit a senior one.

I didn’t want to be a manager.

It’s boring.

And so I walked away.

Twice.

Ten years later I’ve completed 694 creative (mainly) projects for no fewer than 80 different clients.  The vast majority of which I can say I’m proud of.  And have enjoyed the process, liked the people I’ve worked with, and for, and made many new friends along the way.

In fact, it’s the longest I’ve held down a job in my life.

And it’s allowed me to indulge in other things I consider worthwhile; NABS, FCT, The Lyceum, Creative Edinburgh

Thanks guys.

Thanks very, very much.

I hope some of you will stick around for the next ten.

Lessons in life and in business.

I was asked to contribute (as Chairman) to the new Creative Edinburgh blog so I thought I’d draw on some of my personal life-lessons after 30 years at the marketing coal face.  It is, of necessity, rather brief but I’m happy to elaborate with whoever thinks it might be interesting…

Things I am glad I was told

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Mark Gorman shares an informed (and humorous) insight on business management in the creative industries.

Given that Creative Edinburgh is essentially about sharing (knowledge, experiences, contacts, opportunities and pizza) I thought it incumbent upon me as the Chair to share a few of my own personal insights gathered over nearly three decades as a creative practitioner.

What follows are the slides from a PPT deck that I created a couple of years ago for a talk I did in Newcastle. Although most of my career has been in advertising I believe the lessons can be applied to any creative business (in fact any business whatsoever).

Some are more serious that others.

Read it all here…

Creative Edinburgh. What’s it all about then?

I’ve been privileged to be Chair of this astonishingly successful organisation for about three years now and in that time I’ve seen it grow from a mere idea to a near 1,700 strong network.

I was recently asked to contribute to the new blog and here is what I had to say.

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Brownian Motion. It’s a good metaphor for Creative Edinburgh’s unwritten raison d’etre. For those of you unfamiliar with the term it’s the term for random motion of particles suspended in a fluid resulting from their collision with the quick atoms or molecules in the fluid.

OK, that’s all a bit scientific Pseuds Corner (I was a science undergraduate once upon a time), but it’s very apposite to our work here at Creative Edinburgh. Because, at the core of our belief is the idea that if you put lots of people with very different skills, careers, experiences and needs in a room and let Brownian Motion take over people will move about, bump into one another and make random collisions that will spark real opportunity.

It’s happened for our members time and time again at our many and varied events. But one common theme binds these events together; the chance to network in a non-confrontational environment……

You can read the full post here.

Twenty tips to begin a career in the creative industries

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In the week that culture minister Maria Miller announced the UK’s creative industries were growing at over 10% a year and outperforming EVERY other sector of business whilst contributing £8m an hour (£71.4billion a year) to the UK economy I was priveleged to front a discussion evening at the Edinburgh College of Art on how to get a job/career in the creative sector.  It was part of the inaugural Creative Cultural Careers Festival.

The evening was co-curated by Creative Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh’s Careers Service and the 10 speakers who each made ‘Lightning’ speeches gave the gathereing of around 150 students and creative industry workers a fantastic breadth of insights.

I noted twenty of them as the evening progressed.  I am pleased to share them with you;

  • Develop your own voice.
  • Surround yourself with good people.
  • Don’t work with people you don’t trust.
  • Use social media to get work.
  • Be speculative.
  • Be targetted and have a strategy for getting to your goal.
  • Use the public sector (training and funding).
  • Don’t just look for a job.  Look for a career.
  • Know your audience.
  • Put something out there.  DO THE WORK!
  • Be brave.
  • Be dogged. (Don’t give up.  Work hard.  Pester.)
  • Read Scott Belsky’s book – Making Ideas Happen.
  • Eat lunch!
  • Say Thank you.
  • Be your own ‘brand’.
  • Learn to drive.
  • Get lucky (by making your own luck).
  • Work with local charities (as practice).
  • Take control of your agenda.

Thank you to Gillian Easson, Alice Dansey Wright, Milo Mclaughlin, Frances Pratt, David Mahoney, Fi Scott, Charlotte Rendall, Steven Drost, Vana Coleman, and James McVeigh for these great insights