Why the Creative Industries Matter

A deep dive into policy, impact, region

Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning, Founder and CEO of Creative Business Network
Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning, Founder and CEO of Creative Business Network
August 20, 2020
Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning

The Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) are comprised of several diverse sectors

From fashion and movies to gaming and crafts – but all share the same characteristics and face the same challenges. The CCIs contribute to society in, basically, two categories: they create market value (jobs, growth and exports) and non-market values, such as contributing to the identity of a society. The potential for growth in the cultural and creative industries is vast — if we can unleash the potential.

Studies show that:

  • Companies in cultural and creative industries are far more global than other industries
  • These companies have the same motivation for commercial success as other sectors and are in need of specialized business development services to accelerate their growth.
  • Intellectual property rights – both the protection and commercial exploitation – are key to success and growth in many cultural and creative companies.
  • The clear advantages for other sectors of the economy to improve innovation and business development and expand economic growth.

What this means is plenty of untapped opportunities within the creative sector.

The non-market values of the CCIs have typically been supported and protected by ministries for culture, in so far they have been considered part of the ministries’ domain. Only in recent years have new creative expressions, such as gaming, been considered.

For example, the computer game Limbo developed by Playdead received early support from the Danish cultural authorities for Limbo’s artistic values. It later went on to win several prizes and was a success as the third highest selling game on Xbox in 2010. Also, certain parts of a sector, such as the movie industry may be working under commercial conditions, e.g. the film producers, with some other parts being heavily subsidized, e.g. the public broadcasters. The CCIs can be powerful tools – starting revolutions and international crisis – which is why the cultural sectors of the CCIs are often exempted from international trade regulations or inter-governmental organizations.

The more commercially driven CCIs have typically been under the remit of the ministries of business development, but rarely as a sector in itself. However, there’s an increasing documentation on «how to» from countries and inter-governmental organizations like the EU.  

The CCIs often form a strong part of the branding of a country, region or city. Angry Birds, Minecraft, LazyTown and LEGO might not be specifically attached to Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark, but with the Nordic countries as a whole. Similarly, Nordic Food — and Noma — have also contributed to the reputation of the Nordic region and its global brand.

With United Nations’ designation of 2021 as “The Creative Economy for Sustainable Development,” the CCIs will be in the front seat of finding solutions to global challenges. Creative and innovative companies and entrepreneurs will be charged with finding solutions to challenges outside the CCI sectors. In November 2019, WHO published the report “What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being?” which is another example of how the CCIs contribute to solutions outside their field.

By strengthening the CCIs, societies and cultures can achieve a number of benefits, not only related to the CCIs themselves, but also a more innovative and dynamic economy in general. This factor leads to increased wellbeing and a sense of community and a deeper sense of purpose among citizens. The right political strategy to strengthen the CCIs can do a lot to create a beneficial framework and will unlock the full potential. The educational system must embrace new ways of learning and thinking. Other sectors in the economy, (i.e. all the non-CCI sectors) must realize that working with CCIs will lead to greater innovation and disruption. And this will lead us all into the Creative Economy of the 21st Century. A good place to be.

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