INTRODUCTION: Creative Industries & Innovation Policy

By Potts, Jason | Innovation : Management, Policy & Practice, August 2009 | Go to article overview

INTRODUCTION: Creative Industries & Innovation Policy


Potts, Jason, Innovation : Management, Policy & Practice


This special issue of Innovation: Management, Policy & Practice (also released as a book: ISBN 978-1-921348-31-0) will explore some empirical and analytic connections between creative industries and innovation policy. Seven papers are presented. The first four are empirical, providing analysis of large and/or detailed data sets on creative industries businesses and occupations to discern their contribution to innovation. The next three papers focus on comparative and historical policy analysis, connecting creative industries policy (broadly considered, including media, arts and cultural policy) and innovation policy. To introduce this special issue I want to review the arguments connecting the statistical, conceptual and policy neologism of 'creative industries' to: (1) the elements of a national innovation system; and (2) to innovation policy. In approaching this connection, two overarching issues arise.

The first relates to the rise of the creative industries. What are they, what special significance do they have, if any, and furthermore, why now? Much of the answer turns on several ongoing apparent transformations in the technological and industrial composition of modern economies. This is the rise of the 'post-industrial society' (Bell 1973) and the 'knowledge-based economy' (OECD 1996), the systematic growth of the service sector, the rise of what Richard Florida (2002) calls the 'creative class', and so forth. And amidst this we also have the rise of the 'creative industries', an industrial re-classification first introduced by the UK government's Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS 1998). These trends all point in the same direction of a shifting knowledge-base of modern economies. In this view more and greater value issues from businesses and markets in the media, arts, cultural and experience industries. Recent decades have witnessed a period of global structural change in economic systems marked by the sustained rise of the creative industries as a source of employment, exports and value added (DCMS 2006). Proponents of 'creative industries' argue that this rise in economic significance should map to a rise in policy significance. Despite economists lining up to declaim this non sequitur, the issue has gathered a considerable policy traction, as many regions and nations seek to develop a 'creative industries strategy' and to build 'creative industries policy'.

A second issue follows, because it is then argued that this creative industries policy should not represent a scaled-up version of extant arts, cultural or media policy, with its implicit welfaretheoretic foundations (see e.g. Peacock 2006), but is beginning to be seen as an underdeveloped element of services innovation in the context of the broader debate about successive generations of innovation policy (Rothwell 1994; Metcalfe & Miles 2000; Dodsgon et al. 2005; Cunningham et al. 2005). And while still a minority position, there is growing recognition that this implies a policy approach based on the 'Schumpeterian' or 'evolutionary economic' approach of innovation policy (Pelikan & Wegner 2003; Witt 2003; Cunningham 2009). What is seemingly occurring, then, is a reformation of industry policy as innovation policy (Morrison & Potts 2008) allied with a reconstruction of a new industrial grouping - creative industries - toward a modified conception of the innovation process.

What, then, is the basis of this alleged connection between creative industries and innovation policy? There are many studies on innovation processes within the creative industries. For example, Castañer and Campos (2002), drawing on the theory of organizational innovation, examined the role of micro and organizational variables in the process of artistic innovation. Handke (2006, 2007) analyses innovation surveys to identify the factors contributing to innovation in the media industries, an approach also pursued by Tether (2003), who explicitly seeks comparison of innovation performance with other sectors. …

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