Tap Creativity, Wales Urged; Index Ranks Us 55th in Europe

Article excerpt

Byline: Sion Barry

A STRONGER creative sector is key to improving the competitiveness of the Welsh economy, according to new European-wide research.

The first creativity index of 91 European regions, in which Wales is ranked 55th, was conducted by Cardiff-based policy think tank and consultancy, Robert Huggins Associates.

The company says it shows that firms which adopt a vibrant creative approach generally have more robust economies than those without.

Those working in creative fields, including research and development, usually hold more higher valued-added, wealth-creating posts.

The European Creativity Index is based on eight factors.

These include the undertaking of research and development activities, employment in research activities within higher education, businesses and the public sector, levels of patent and copyright applications and exploitation. The stock of human capital working within creative sectors, like the media, is also taken into consideration.

The index gave Wales a score of 54.8, compared with a European average score of 100). Wales performs better than Yorkshire and Humberside (58th), the North West (60th), Northern Ireland (66th) and the North East (81st). However, it is considerably lower than South East England (eighth), Eastern England (15th), London (19th) and the South West (20th).

Wales' opportunities for creative growth are high, particularly considering its human capital potential and attractiveness as a base for creative industries. The report says the focus must now be on transforming this potential into a commercially creative workforce, an area which Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies to keen to exploit.

The highest-ranked region was Uusimaa in Finland, which includes Helsinki.

Martin Jones, head of European affairs at Robert Huggins Associates, said, 'Uusimaa is a region which Wales should look towards in terms of learning how to successfully develop a strong creative economy.'

He continued, 'Both the index and fieldwork undertaken in Finland highlight that Uusimaa has been highly successful in establishing a very strong culture of research and development - with a highly developed system of co-operation between government, business and higher education'.

The region consistently tops the rankings of employment and investment in R&D, as well as the number of workers employed in creative economy sectors. …