The Value of Creative Growth: making growth work for creative enterprise

Lead Research Organisation: Glasgow School of Art
Department Name: The Innovation School

Abstract

This early-career leadership fellowship intends to advance the support and evaluation of the creative economy through exploring and testing more holistic measures of economic growth that are more resonant with the wider interests and values of creative enterprise and the communities they engage. By modelling a more qualitative conception of growth, and supporting that growth trajectory, it is argued that creative enterprise can be more effectively levered towards creating traceable value across social, cultural, economic and practice-based agendas. This will be tested each at an individual, organisational and collective or regional level.

As such, this proposal will apply a Creative Growth Model, developed through learning and testing from previous AHRC-funded research in the creative economy, to frame growth for creative practice in four keys areas: network growth, through new and enriched communities of practice; knowledge growth, through new learning and enriched forms of practice; value growth, through new and enriched products, services and experiences; and market growth, through new and enriched audiences and ways to reach them.

This fellowship will be based at The Innovation School at The Glasgow School of Art and build on existing relationships with industry and academic partners established across a trajectory of creative economy projects. This includes delivering projects in four case contexts, including working across the H&I to develop a network of creative micro clusters supporting creative enterprise across the region; working in Dundee to develop a leadership group for the creative and entrepreneurial development of digital makers; working in Bristol and creative hub partners across a support network for creative enterprise; as well as working with academic and industry partners and programmes across the Creative Economies Hub, to lead knowledge sharing and critical debate on the role of academic institutes in the creative economy.

This aims to produce evidence of more qualitative ways to evaluate creative growth, new approaches for supporting creative growth, a series of case studies on understanding the value of creative enterprise, and legacy projects in each context where leadership groups, collaborations and clusters have developed the capacity and resource to sustain themselves going forward.

Planned Impact

This leadership fellowship has the potential to provide an extensive, demonstrable body of research and approaches applying a consistent qualitative framework for growth across real world contexts of creative economic development for start ups, sole practitioners, micro businesses and SMEs.

For the project partners, they are being given collaborative space to explore new ways of engaging, support and evaluate creative enterprise in their respective networks. They will also gain access to wider perspectives and broader networks that are being actively levered to compliment their existing support services and structures.

For the project participants, identified as creative entrepreneurs across the four case projects, they will be engaged in tailored packages of tools, techniques and activities towards framing creative growth for their business, project, practice or other collective development challenges. They will also gain time with peers in learning on these programmes, as well as gaining greater awareness and relationships with relevant networks around them. Finally, they will receive the possibility of showcasing their work and development with an international network of academic and industry stakeholders, maximising their opportunities for growth.

The programmes of support packages, tools and techniques for business growth, approaches to evaluating creative growth, as well as project case studies, will be published online and publicly accessible. Within these materials the project will be an example of: how growth can be framed in more qualitative ways, how qualitative data can be systematically collected, analysed and visualised, how strategic discussion can be facilitated using visualised qualitative data, how programmes of support activities can be designed and delivered in tailored approaches, how creative engagement can translate programmes of support for multiple audiences, and, most importantly, how the value of creative growth can be measured along relational exchanges as well as transactional exchanges. The approach to realising this is described in the Pathways to Impact document.

For non-participating creative entrepreneurs, sole traders, micro-businesses:
- In addition to the above mentioned materials to be published online and publicly accessible, creative practitioners and entrepreneurs will be able to adapt materials for their own purposes
- In each local project network, creative enterprises will gain from any adopted practices, support programmes and network growth in their local networks and services for developmental support.

For support organisations for business development:
- In addition to the above mentioned materials to be published online and publicly accessible, business support organisations will be able to engage with Creative Economies Hub activities provided through case project D on the role of academic institutions in the creative economy

For creative industries and associated bodies:
- In addition to the above mentioned materials to be published online and publicly accessible, creative industries and associated bodies will be able to adapt materials for their own purposes
- They will also be able to engage with Creative Economies Hub activities provided through case project D on the role of academic institutions in the creative economy

For regional development policymakers:
- In addition to the above mentioned materials to be published online and publicly accessible, policymakers will be able to access more granular, empirical insights on the situations and growth trajectories of small-scale creative enterprises in both rural and urban contexts, as well as their relationships to larger scale support programmes and networks
- They will also be able to engage with Creative Economies Hub activities provided through case project D on the role of academic institutions in the creative economy

Publications

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